SP youth demonstrate in Brussels: ''Europe Big in Business. Small in Democracy'

26 March 2009

SP youth demonstrate in Brussels: ''Europe Big in Business. Small in Democracy'

'Europe Big in Business. Small in Democracy.' This was the slogan on a banner at the entrance to the European Business Summit in Brussels, an annual gathering of European businesspeople and politicians. This year, no fewer than eleven of the twenty-seven European Commissioners attended.

But so did the SP youth! Around twenty members of SP youth organisation ROOD (pronounced 'rote', it means 'RED') were at the chic Brussels Conference Centre on Thursday to protest against the hidden influence exercised by corporate lobbyists on EU policy. Unfortunately, a ticket to get into the summit cost €1,400, so the young socialists remained outside, setting up a 'registration desk' by the entrance. This gave passing lobbyists the opportunity to reveal who they were, who they were working for, and how much money was involved. Expectations were confirmed, however, when not a single person took advantage of this.

 No lobbyist dared the reveal their identity

The official lobby register of the European Commission lists the names of 1,200 firms, yet the true number of lobbyists in Brussels, the men and women who attempt to influence EU policy on behalf of the major corporations who hire them, is estimated to be 15,000. In other words, lobbyists are boycotting the register en masse. This is clearly not seen as a problem by the European Commission when it comes. They are happy to go actively seeking corporate lobbyists at events such as the European Business Summit. Dennis de Jong, number one on the SP list for the coming elections to the European Parliament, points out that “trade unions are happy if one Commissioner participates. This shows once again the skewed relations in the EU.”

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