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Lobbyism in EU
Transcript of Lobbyism in EU
A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause.
An estimated number of lobbyists, that try to influence EU officials, is 15.000 to 30.000.
Who are lobbyists?
Basically anyone can lobby; even YOU and ME.
But usually lobbyists are big businesses, industries, private companies, interest groups and sometimes charity’s.
Styles of lobbying
Different types of interest groups
How do they work?
Lobby groups can appeal to different EU institutions with their particular interests.
Smaller lobby groups usually address them.
They can be easier to lobby directly.
Lobby groups can enjoy an insider status to the different national departments.
Advisory committee system
Commission representatives travel to member states
Through MEP's with relevant legislation
MEPs preparing reports can approach lobby groups
Subnational levels of government
Private and public companies
National interest groups
Influence on EU policy making processes
Germany, Spain and Belgium strong subnational levels of government
Often direct communication with EU institutions
Large business firms, especially multinational corporations
Around 250 firms have offices in Brussels
Work through national and other Euro interes groups
But firms also do lobbying on a direct basis
Try to involve themselves in EU processes
Many national interest groups from non-EU countries do lobbying in Brussels
1- Strong pluralist features with an open landscape of interests
2- The more they compete, the more they contribute to the polyarchic method of decision-making
3- EU systems shows a great heterogeneity of lobbying styles and
4- Informality more frequent in EU lobbying
From different countries and seek to have influence on specific topics
Around 1.450 formally constituted EU level groups
1/3 citizen interests
Eurogroups gather and exchange information about the topic of interest
1- Most dominant interest groups in society, such as industrial multinationals, lobby the most
2- This also creates a lack of transparency
3- Too much lobbying involves a lot of abuses and inmoral practices
4- Lobby groups can have negative impacts on the democracy of the decision-making process
5- By the majority-vote method it runs the risk of being identified as a privileged minority
The Brussels Business
Facts & Figures
About 3000 of them are permanently situated in offices in Brussels.
However, most of the lobby groups are not officially registered in the Transparency Register of the European Commission and Parliament.
The Transparency Register
Together these lobby groups spend more than one billion euro’s on influencing EU officials.
However, since most lobbyists are not registered, the total spending of lobbyists in the EU is far higher.
The Transparency Register was initiated in 2005 by European Commissioner Siim Kallas
Callas' first plan was to make registration obligatory, but he didn't succeed.
That's is why up until today enrolling in the Transparency Register is voluntary.
At the end of June 2013 only 5700 lobbyists had (voluntarily) registered in the transparency register of the European Commission and Parliament.
676 consultancies and law firms;
2862 professional associations, trade unions and similar organizations;
1498 non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
406 think tanks and research groups;
38 ecclesiastical and religious organizations;
275 representatives of local and regional authorities.
The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) is very critical on the Transparency Register.
Some very big – and often criticized - lobby groups in the European Union are for instance:
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA);
European Smoking Tobacco Association (ESTA);
European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT).
Supply and demand
Lobby groups have to develop both sides.
Supply: Giving information
Demand: Seeking influence
Formal or informal
Formal: Ex. sending a letter to a commissioneur from the chairman of the lobby group.
Several situations where informal is better: When lobby groups want no decision to be taken at all, When a lobby group wants information on other players, etc.
Direct or indirect
Indirect: Sending your message through someone else, so you remain anonymous
Direct ways: Personal visit, letter, phone, email, presentation of position, folder or brochure, mass media participation, press conference, boycott, strike, hearing participation.