De Jong: Block Commission’s ‘Expert Groups’ budget to weaken corporate lobby

4 September 2014

De Jong: Block Commission’s ‘Expert Groups’ budget to weaken corporate lobby

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has joined fellow MEPs from the centre-right European People’s Party and the Greens in lodging a proposal that would result in the blocking of the money allocated by the European Commission to its nine hundred advisory expert groups. ‘For years I’ve tried during informal negotiations with the Commission to bring about a more balanced composition within these expert groups,’ says De Jong. ‘The Commission has now told social organisations that no such dialogue exists and it is unwilling to go through with the advisory groups’ reform. In that case we have only one means at our disposal and that is to block the budget for this policy.’

The European Parliament has already blocked finance for the expert groups once, in 2011, which helped to bring about the informal negotiations. ‘Dozens of these expert groups, for example dealing with agriculture, which have actually already been subject to reform and I was for a long time giving the Commission the benefit of the doubt,’ De Jong explains. ‘Evidently they hoped that after the elections the matter would be dropped and they’d be able to go their own sweet way. As a result of this proposal to block the funding, which has broad support in the EP, the Commission will learn that they have to take us seriously.’

The social organisations affiliated to ALTER-EU, particularly Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) have in the last few months conducted extensive research on the existing composition of the expert groups. Although they report some progress, they at the same time confirm that big corporations continue to dominate. In CEO’s contribution to the enquiry currently being conducted by the European Ombudswoman into the expert groups, the organisation calls for rigid formal rules to be adopted in relation to the advisory bodies’ composition, a demand which has De Jong’s full backing.

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