Major corporations still dominate Brussels back rooms

16 November 2010

Major corporations still dominate Brussels back rooms

The European Commission has proposed new rules governing lobbyists in policy advice committees, or expert groups as they are known. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has in recent months been heavily involved in the development of these rules but describes himself as ‘extremely disappointed by the final outcome. Major corporations will still dominate the back-rooms of Brussels. Only recently I heard an example of this from Greenpeace, how they were kept out of an expert group by pressure from the industry lobby, which is just what I’ve heard before from consumer organisations and bodies representing small businesses.`

Dennis de JongIn De Jong’s view the new rules fall well short, especially when it comes to fair access for all parties. “I’ve proposed that before an expert group is formed a call should be put out on one central website to anyone who might be interested, which would be a practical way to create more openness, but the Commission wasn’t interested.”

Bigger organisations know how to find their way around Brussels, but smaller organisations sometimes need a helping hand. The Commission does not in any way acknowledge this, however. “A small firm must, for example, just in the same way as a big corporation, nominate a person for the group, but the latter can far more easily fund someone than can a small shop ort office,” says De Jong. “I’ve proposed that the Commission pay expenses to enable smaller organisations to be represented. “ In addition, he would like to see minutes of meetings of expert groups made available to the public. Once again, the Commission has no plans to accept this proposal.

You are here