SP: European Commission ignores trade unions but attends European Business Summit en masse

18 May 2011

SP: European Commission ignores trade unions but attends European Business Summit en masse

At least seven Commissioners are participating in the annual European Business Summit in Brussels on 18th and 19th May. Yet only one is attending the four-yearly Congress of European Trade Unions to be held this week in Athens. ‘In these times, when working people are being asked to make sacrifice after sacrifice, you might expect the Commission to be listening a little less to major corporations and rather more to the trade union movement, for example,’ says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘I find it extremely disappointing that relations here are once again so lop-sided.’

In addition, De Jong is unhappy about the fact that his questions regarding the Summit, brought under a special urgency procedure, have only today received an answer from the Commission. De Jong’s questions drew attention to the fact that the European Business Forum, which organises the Business Summit, is not itself registered as a lobbying group. Since putting the questions, however, the SP’s European Parliament team has learnt directly from the organisation that it would probably be registering in the near future, and this has now been confirmed by the Commission. “We’ve just reached agreement between Parliament and Commission on a transparency register,” explains De Jong. “As a member of the working group on a new Code of Conduct I’m currently working on measures that will make it difficult for unregistered lobbyists to enter the European Parliament buildings. I would also say therefore that it’s in the interests of the European Business Forum itself to register.”

De Jong has also spoken to the organisation about the possibility that, together with other interested parties, he will next year have a stand at the Business Summit itself in order to explain the new transparency register. ‘It is important that as many lobbyists as possible register. During the Summit we can mop up, because most of the lobbyists will be there.”

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