The corporate-dominated EU
Brussels, 25 September 2012 – A new report examines the composition of expert and advisory groups for DG Enterprise and Industry. This new research carried out by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) was launched at a joint event with the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) and the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour.
The study finds that two thirds of all of DG Enterprise’s non-governmental advisory groups are dominated by big business interests with some 482 corporate advisors influencing key areas of policy, such as international trade, consumer protection, food and aspects of environmental protection. In contrast, the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises have little opportunity to influence policy decisions through advisory groups, accounting for just 5% of the total non-governmental representatives. Representatives from NGOs (non-governmental organisations) account for just 8%, and unions for 1%.
One of the report authors, Yiorgos Vassalos from ALTER-EU, said: “DG Enterprise seems to have become the champion of big business in the Commission. Their dominance in expert groups is providing business with privileged access to influence the policy agenda, while other interests do not have a similar voice. As a result there is a very real risk that industry lobbyists may capture whole areas of policy making at the European level, to the detriment of wider society.”
After publishing the report, ALTER-EU (together with AK, ÖGB and EPSU) also sent a letter to the members of the Budget Committee to persuade them to not approve the expert group´s budget until the Commission has taken serious actions to reform it. You can read the letter here.
An earlier study, written by AK Vienna (Arbeiter Kammer), shows similar results.
“As expected, the organisational figures send a clear signal in view of the balance of power of capital and labour. At 2,176 European lobby groups, we have coded 63 per cent of all organisations as business interests, 19 to which another 168 lobby groups of professional groups may be added, because the majority of their work is carried out as self-employed work in SMEs. Overall, 68 per cent of organisations would therefore have to be allocated to the camp of business interests. Compared to this, the share of 47 trade unions (or 100 according to the Transparency Register) counts for just one or two per cent of the European lobby groups. Apart from the trade union organisations, trade unions play a role in some lobby groups, which have been coded as multiple interest organisations as their membership combines different interests (e.g. business and employee).”
ALTER-EU and Access Info is calling on the Commission to make major changes in the composition of its advisory groups to ensure that the public interest is properly served.
For more information go to: