SP Youth will demonstrate against Brussels lobby circus

24 March 2009

SP Youth will demonstrate against Brussels lobby circus

The SP youth organisation ROOD (pronounced 'rote', it means 'Red') is planning a playful action for 26th March in Brussels to draw attention to the hidden influence exercised by lobbyists on the European Union's policies. The demonstration will take place outside the European Business Summit, a cosy annual gathering between members of the European Commission, leading European politicians and representatives of Europe's corporate business.

Skewed relations

Dennis de Jong, number one on the SP's list for the forthcoming European elections, is pleased with ROOD's plans. "The European Commission is going to be represented during this meeting by eleven commissioners, yet the gathering is no more than a blatant piece of lobbying by big business. When I talk to Dutch trade unionists they tell me that the labour movement is overjoyed if a single commissioner turns up to participate in meetings at European level. This once again shows the skewed relations prevailing in Europe."

15,000 lobbyists

It is estimated that 15,000 lobbyists daily attempt to influence EU policies. This influence must, in the SP's view, be brought into the open. The majority of these lobbyists are refusing to register with the European Commission, which requires them to disclose quite limited information. "In order to draw attention to the way in which matters are conducted in Brussels – behind closed doors – ROOD will be at the entrance to the European Business Summit on Thursday with twenty or so activists," De Jong explains. "And they'll have their own 'registration desk' where lobbyists can leave their details. We want to know who they are, who they're working for and how much money is involved. It's idiotic that you can simply buy influence in Brussels. We say 'EU, Big in Business. Small in Democracy'. And that has to change, and fast."

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