‘Disproportionate’ influence for business lobbyists in EU

April 16, 2008

Lobbyists and representatives from industry have a disproportionate influence in the ‘expert groups’ that advise the Commission on drawing up EU legislation.

[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]That is the conclusion of a report by Alter-EU, a coalition of NGOs campaigning for greater transparency in EU affairs. The report ‘Secrecy and corporate dominance’ says industry lobbyists have had particular influence over issues such a biotechnology, ‘clean coal’ and car emissions.

The Commission does not have the same density of officials as many national governments, so frequently looks for input from outside bodies. This has led to the formation of ‘expert groups’, and these have grown in recent years as the Commission has had to deal with complex areas such as climate change and biotechnology – a study by the University of Oslo said expert groups were ‘by far the mode of consultation most frequently used by the Commission’.

Alter-EU recommends the groups should be dissolved and other consultation methods found. It also criticises the Commission for failing to address conflicts of interest, and for not publishing the names of experts on advisory groups.

A spokeswoman for the administration commissioner Siim Kallas said the Commission would collect and publish the names of members of expert groups by the summer.

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