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Elise Lucet et la directive secret des affaires

En Europe, un premier vote pour la directive secret des affaires aura lieu mardi 16 Juin 2015. Cette loi réduira considérablement votre droit à l’information.
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Endoc(t)rinement – Documentaire de Stéphane Horel

La Magnitude du Problème des Perturbateurs Endocriniens

Sources
  • À Bruxelles, un compte à rebours a commencé. L’Europe pourrait interdire les perturbateurs endocriniens, ces substances omniprésentes qui compromettent la santé des enfants en piratant leur système hormonal. Mais cette promesse menace des intérêts colossaux. Les générations futures mandatent un bébé astucieux pour enquêter sur la bataille d’influence que se livrent industriels, scientifiques et ONG dans les coulisses de la démocratie européenne. Fruit de 18 mois d’enquête, Endoc(t)rinement expose la complaisance d’institutions européennes perméables à l’influence de l’industrie. Attaque de chercheurs indépendants, instrumentalisation de la science, conflit d’intérêts : le film dévoile les stratégies des lobbys de la chimie et des pesticides, empruntées à l’industrie du tabac, pour court-circuiter la réglementation.
  • Endoc(t)rinement, site de l’auteure.
  • Regardez cette liste de vidéos sur les perturbateurs endocriniens sur YouTube.

EU lobby register: 113 NGOs ask EU Commission to make it legally binding

ALTER-EU and others ask for full lobby transparency

This post content is published by ALTER-EU, a coalition of over 200 civil society groups and trade unions concerned with the influence of corporate lobbyists on the political agenda in Europe.

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ALTER-EU urges European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans to take strong and urgent action to create a high-quality and legally-binding EU lobby transparency register in a letter sent to him today, signed by over 100 non-governmental organisations.

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation ALTER-EU has urged European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans to take strong and urgent action to create a high-quality and legally-binding EU lobby transparency registerin a letter sent to him today, signed by over 100 non-governmental organisations and trade unions, and supported by the European Parliament Intergroup on Integrity.

The letter calls on the Commission to adopt measures to reduce opportunities for unethical lobbying, and to ensure a better balance between corporate and public interest groups in the access to, and influence they have on, EU decision-making processes.

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla of Access Info Europe,
a member of the Steering Committee of ALTER-EU said:

The EU lobby register still has major weaknesses. Vice President Timmermans promised a mandatory lobby register but his proposals are not mandatory for lobby groups. We need immediate steps that will ban lobby meetings with all Commission officials for un-registered lobby groups and we also need a legislative proposal that will ensure that the information provided in the register is relevant and complete and that there are strong sanctions in case of non-compliance”.

Natalia Alonso, Oxfam’s Deputy Director of Advocacy & Campaigns,
and a signatory to the letter, said:

A mandatory lobby register would help balance the influence that wealthy elites have over rule-making compared to public interest groups. The EU must put people first and powerful interests of a few, second“.

Jan Willem Goudriaan,
General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions
and also a signatory to the letter, added that:

A well-resourced system to register lobby firms is needed to ensure transparency, to counter the dominant influence of corporate Europe and to restore democracy in the EU”.

ALTER-EU, and the 113 signatory organisations to the letter, have specifically called on the Commission to:

  • Immediately extend its ban on meeting unregistered lobbyists so that it applies to all staff, to further boost registrations.
  • Make detailed proposals on the disclosure of additional and more precise information, including further details about the dossiers lobbied on.
  • Commit to an open and transparent process with other EU institutions to improve the lobby register, which would include substantial opportunities for input by citizens and civil society.
  • Commit to increasing the resources devoted to this area so that monitoring and enforcement of the rules can become far more effective.
  • Commit to including the objective of a lobby register that is legally-binding on lobbyists and thus truly mandatory (requiring legislation) in its proposed Inter-Institutional Agreement as a medium-term option to ensure that all EU lobbyists sign up.

Civil society groups have previously welcomed the steps the Juncker Commission has taken to increase lobby transparency at the European level, including the ban on senior Commission representatives holding meetings with unregistered lobbyists. However, since the ban on meetings with lobbyists only covers around 300 people out of a Commission staff of 33,000, the current measures still do not go far enough to ensure that the register is “mandatory” in practice.

June 1, 2015 EU Conference on Endocrine Disruptors: criteria for identification and related impacts

Conference EDCs: criteria for identification and related impacts.

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Of particular importance is that the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) will present its methodology for estimating which chemicals would fall under the different identification options.

Brussels, 01 June 2015 Conference

The European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety organises a one-day conference in Brussels on 1 June 2015 on the impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors in the context of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 and the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) 528/2012.

The aim of the conference is to inform Member States, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), third countries representatives and stakeholders about the on-going impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors and to provide a platform for further exchanges of views.

Registration

Registration is free of charge.  Please register online by 19 May 2015 at the latest.

Places are limited and therefore only the registration of one representative per country/organisation can be accepted. The submission of the registration form does not constitute a confirmation.

Sources and more information

Say No to Recycling Toxic Chemicals into New Products

Toxic recycling contaminates our homes! STOP it now!

This post content is published by IPEN – a global network of public interest organizations working to eliminate toxic substances.

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African countries expressed deep concern regarding the EU proposal to recycle products containing toxic flame retardants into new products such as children’s toys, food containers and soft furnishings.

Geneva, 8 May 2015: The EU has pushed dangerous cleanup standards for three toxic flame retardant chemicals widely used in building insulation, upholstery and electronics (HBCD, PentaBDE, and OctaBDE) at a UN meeting of chemicals treaties in Geneva, Switzerland. All three toxic chemicals are listed in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination. They are ubiquitous in the environment globally and can disrupt human hormone systems, creating potential adverse effects on the development of the nervous system and children’s IQ.

African countries expressed deep concern regarding the EU proposal to recycle products containing toxic flame retardants into new products such as children’s toys, food containers and soft furnishings.

We do not want toxic chemicals recycled into toys for African children and we do not think EU children should be playing with them either,” said Tadesse Amera, PAN Ethiopia. “The EU already sends us ewaste and now it seems they want to increase our toxic burden.”

The EU proposal will allow toxic recycled products to be used by EU consumers and, then exported to developing countries as waste, transferring the toxic burden from richer countries to poor countries where the capacity to deal with contaminated waste is limited and where they will potentially add to health problems and hamper poverty reduction.

Ironically, the waste cleanup limit for PCBs and other substances already listed in the treaty is 20 times safer than the current EU proposal for flame retardants, despite the fact that they are all similarly toxic. Expert advisors to the EU noted that under the EU proposal, none of the current PentaBDE wastes would qualify for cleanup. The EU appears to be designing a standard to avoid cleanup actions on the world’s most toxic chemicals.

Jindrich Petrlik from Arnika Association said, “As an EU-based public interest NGO we find it shameful to see the EU violating the integrity of the Stockholm Convention, and putting economic interests before human health and the environment. This is poisoning the circular economy.”

Time now for a legal light on EU lobbying?

A European Parliament journalist interviews Sylvie Guillaume

The new Transparency Register was to end the opaque lobbying practices dogging the EU, but will it be effective? We ask a leading MEP on the issue Sylvie Guillaume.

More information

Pesticides industry chief: Commission should move faster on endocrine disruptors

“The process of regulating chemical substances has already been taking too long”

Content on this post is produced by EurActiv.com
Jean-Charles Bocquet, director general of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA)., answered questions by EurActiv‘s Henriette Jacobsen.

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The European Commission’s public consultation on endocrine disruptors is one positive step in a process of regulating chemical substances which has already been taking too long, says Jean-Charles Bocquet.

What do you think of the Commission’s public consultation on endocrine disruptors? Are you happy with the process?

If we talk about the consultation itself, it’s a good thing. When talking about the whole process, we’re concerned because it’s too slow. It has already been delayed and the timeline for a definition of endocrine disruptors has not been respected. We are in an uncertain situation. It makes a lot of unclarity for the evaluators at the EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) level, for the risk managers, the member states and of course also for our members. The sooner the criteria is established and validated, the better it will be.

Contrary to what some NGOs think, we have not worked to slowdown the process.

You would prefer stringent criteria adopted fast rather than the opposite?

No. Since the current regulation was adopted, we have been fighting hard against the so-called hazard criteria. Until now, all our products were risk-based evaluated. That means that every technology including natural products can come under the label ‘hazard’. Based on the use, crops and the amount, there is an exposure which is big or low and if we combine the hazard with the exposure, then the risk manager can say that we can put the product on the market based on this. Europe is the only place in the world where we have this approach now.

Does this also include minimum residue levels for pesticides?

Yes, and this issue will become hotter this year due to the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations. Endocrine disruptors and TTIP can be linked due to the residue levels. We don’t want them to be linked too much, but some people want them to be linked.

People from the Commission?

No, the new Commission in fact has a new way of looking at things. Our understanding is that they prefer to check and be sure that the current regulation is working. If it’s not working, they want to make it work before they consider new regulation.

Before the new Commission took office we thought that the current regulation, which really hasn’t been working yet, would be revised as soon as possible. Now, if the Commission says it’s better to really make the current regulation work, then that’s a fine idea.

But the public consultation is taking place to update the regulation, right?

The consultation is specific to endocrine disruptors. The problem with it is that it’s not a general public consultation. In fact, you do need a little bit of knowledge about the file. This is more for experts. This topic really is the hot topic of the coming months and we have of course been contributing to the consultation. As one of many important stakeholders in this debate, we take the issue of endocrine disruptors seriously. We welcome a vigorous, informative and reasonable public dialogue to fully consider the consequences of the criteria for endocrine disruption.

These criteria will be used to regulate endocrine disruptors in sector-specific chemicals legislation, such as for general chemicals, biocides and pesticides. The application of these criteria could have significant consequences for consumers, agriculture and trade. That’s why the public consultation is so vital to the process.

Our position is that the EU’s criteria should evaluate endocrine active substances based on risk assessment, considering both hazard and exposure, and that the final criteria should clearly distinguish those substances that are of high regulatory concern from those that are not.

The number of active substances available for the industry to use has consistently been reduced due to regulation…

Not only because of the regulation, but also because of us. In the 1990s, we had around 1,000 substances available on the European market. Today, the number is 250 because regarding 60-70% of the substances, we have decided not to maintain them as we knew they would be technically outdated and we would have better solutions for the farmers. Then we had 80 substances where we were trying to renew them, but this was not accepted due to risk concerns. At the same time, on top of the 250 substances, 150 new substances have been developed.

So we have 400 substances now, and they are generally safer. They represent less risk and really answer our needs as consumers and citizens. With the new regulation on endocrine disruptors, our guess is that between 50 to 60 substances can again disappear, knowing that all the current 400 will have to go through the screening again.

Have you identified those 50-60 substances?

Yes, and among those potential ones, there are ones which are bringing technical solutions that are very useful for the farmers and we don’t really have alternative solutions available yet. This could result in substances disappearing from the market so that, for example, wheat production, which is an important crop in Europe, can be negatively impacted.

We want an approach that is really pragmatic, based on use.

The 50-60 substances that you think could be taken off the market… Is this something the industry is already taking for granted and already phasing out? Do you agree that the risk may too high for some of them?

Today, based on the knowledge available and on the current risk-benefit analysis, which has been done, there’s no obvious reason. We potentially have some insecticides which have been largely used, with a lot of benefits, which could disappear.

We have been bringing new families, new benefits, more targeted and environmental-friendly products to the market. Of course we can always do more. This is what our research and development teams are working on. But for a product, we need more than ten years before bringing them to the market. We cannot make those changes in a split second.

The number of products reaching the market is declining because companies are not taking risks when there are so many discussions on criteria profile to continue to push for them being on the market.

The concern is still about the products in the pipeline or those already on the market. It’s more and more complicated to find new product families. If we rely too much on the same product families, the risk of resistance will be increased, and then the farmers won’t be able to control the problem.

I’m guessing you are trying to meet with Commissioner Frans Timmermans, the First Vice-President responsible for Better Regulation. Are you telling the Commission to drop this legislation?

No. We have looked at impact assessments from the beginning so that we remain consistent. What we just want is an acceleration of the process. We don’t know yet what the outcome will be.

What will be the desirable outcome from your point of view?

The desirable outcome for us would be that before taking the decision to exclude a substance, they go through a risk-benefit analysis which is not the case today from the current regulation. If you have classified a substance as an endocrine disruptor, whatever the criteria is, because they are still being discussed, then it will be dropped.

Do you think the Commission is listening to this argument?

With the new Commission, I don’t know. But there were different opinions in the previous different Commission units.

The new Commission has a new approach which is more centralised, which could help making your point, no?

We have not yet had the opportunity to really… We have had a meeting in one of the cabinets, but it was more like an introductory meeting.

Impact assessments are being reviewed at the Commission with a more systematic cost-benefit analysis being considered. You must see this as going in the right direction, no?

In principle, of course it goes in the right direction. This is for the future. But for today and for the endocrine disruptors, the fight has already been quite emotional that I can’t imagine that this impact assessment will continue to the end and then stop.

On the other hand, we’re not interested in stopping it because that would keep it in the grey area. We are really happy that the public consultation will close on Friday.

The impact assessment, I believe, has already started and some input will be used from the public consultation to make the final proposal of the criteria which will be discussed by the Council and Parliament. The only concern we have is the planning, because we don’t expect the criteria to be agreed by the Commission, Parliament and Council before the end of 2016. It’s not going to be tomorrow. In the meantime, the debate will continue. – 16/01/2015.

Why the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver

EU lobby register: still failing to deliver real transparency

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New ALTER-EU report shows why the current EU lobby register is still failing to deliver real transparency. Some of the main groups actively lobbying the EU institutions did not register and too many of the register’s entries are not reliable.

This new research published January 27, 2015 by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), shows how the voluntary approach to EU lobby transparency regulation fails to provide citizens with an accurate picture of the lobby scene in Brussels. Some of the main groups that are actively lobbying the EU institutions have still not registered in the EU’s Transparency Register. These include:

  • Financial lobbyists such as Standard & Poors, City of London Corporation and Credit Suisse;
  • Lobby consultancies, such as EUTOP Brussels;
  • Law firms such as Covington & Burling and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer;
  • Major corporations such as Electrabel, Anglo American and General Motors.

Meanwhile, too many of the register’s entries are unreliable: lobby firms and law firms fail to disclose clients – which is a clear breach of the rules for the register – or they mask their identities behind meaningless acronyms. In addition lobby spending and lobbyist numbers are often under-reported, and there are far too many implausible entries. For example:

  • Google and Novartis list more European Parliament entry passes than the total number of lobbyists they say they employ, which cannot be correct according to the register rules.
  • Goldman Sachs and Honeywell under-report their lobby expenditures as the amounts they declare are less than the amounts they have paid to lobby consultancies.
  • Meanwhile, some entries are simply absurd: BearingPoint, a professional consultancy, states that its lobby turnover is a staggering €552,795,000! [Addendum 28-01-2015: Since this report was published, BearingPoint has contacted us to clarify that the figure declared in its register entry was not, in fact, its lobbying expenses, but rather its annual turnover. Whilst this is an easy mistake to make, this example shows that there is a lack of proactive checking by the Transparency Register Secretariat that the entries are accurate and credible.]

The European Parliament, alongside transparency campaigners including ALTER-EU, have long demanded a tougher approach to EU lobby regulation. It is now time for the European Commission to take up this challenge. The revamped register currently being launched, will not significantly improve the accuracy of the lobby data (as outlined in this report) and will not enable any interested person to really know who is lobbying whom, and how much is being spent on lobbying in Brussels  – surely the key tests of any proper transparency register. Despite numerous commitments to improve the poor quality of information in the register, too little has happened and even the most obvious absurd entries have not been corrected.

The Juncker Commission is now proposing to introduce a so-called mandatory lobby register via an inter-institutional agreement. This is very misleading, as such an inter-institutional agreement would not be binding on lobbyists and thus not properly mandatory.

What is needed is a proposal for EU legislation to introduce a legally-binding EU lobby register, which would ensure that lobbyists are obliged to be fully open and honest about all their lobbying activities. This would allow the register secretariat to investigate incorrect and misleading entries, and ensure that effective sanctions can be applied in cases of breaches of the register rules. That is the only way to ensure that we know who is influencing the decisions coming out of Brussels, which affect EU citizens’ daily lives.

Sources and more information

ALTER-EU Europe’s campaign for lobbying transparencyALTER-EU Europe’s campaign for lobbying transparency
  • EU lobby register: still failing to deliver real transparency, press-releases and PDF January 27, 2015.
  • New and Improved? Why the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver, press-releases and PDF January 27, 2015.

Health NGO: Endocrine disruptors are one of the biggest public health threats of this century

Génon K. Jensen, Director of HEAL, answers questions posed by Henriette Jacobsen, EurActiv

Content on this post is produced by EurActiv.com
Génon K. Jensen, director of the not-for-profit organisation Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), answered questions by EurActiv‘s Henriette Jacobsen.

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Although hormone-disrupting chemicals are recognised as a global public health threat by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission’s public consultation on the matter, is only meant to delay action and regulation, argues Génon K. Jensen.

What does HEAL think of the concept of the Commission’s endocrine disruptors consultation?

The consultation is only one part of a larger impact assessment process, which has been introduced to delay action on endocrine-disrupting chemicals to protect public health.

HEAL believes it to be strange to hold a public consultation, and even an impact assessment, on the scientific criteria for the identification of endocrine disruptors when the Commission has spent years obtaining scientific work and advice on this subject: for example, the Kortenkamp report contracted by the Commission; the two-year long Expert Advisory Group on endocrine disrupting chemicals, which included member state experts, NGO experts and industry experts, and which resulted in a report by the EU’s own Joint Research Centre; and even the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) opinion.

The fact that we are having an impact assessment at all is already testament to the influence the pesticides and chemicals industry have on the Commission.

It was already democratically agreed by 28 member states in 2009 and 2011 through the Parliament and the Council to remove these endocrine-disrupting pesticides and biocides, because of the risks of diseases and environmental problems generated by these products, which are widely dispersed and end up in our food, air, water and bodies. The laws agreed foresee exemptions to these bans when, for example, there is a serious danger to plant health.

So a broad agreement has been reached, but it seems the pesticides and chemical industries deliberately ignore it and keep fighting the same old battle.

What are your views on endocrine disruptors? Have you made your views heard during the consultation?

Endocrine disruptors are one of the biggest public health threats of this and possibly the next centuries, maybe on par with global climate destabilisation. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNEP say they are a global threat to health and the environment that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

We believe that systematically reducing exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals provides a massive opportunity to prevent many chronic diseases, such as hormonal cancers (of breast, prostate, and testicles), diabetes and obesity, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder, and fertility problems. So it’s imperative that all endocrine-disrupting chemicals are properly identified. To this end, we believe the WHO definition, in combination with three categories that rank the endocrine disrupting chemicals according to the strength of the scientific evidence, is the single best way to proceed. It’s the same way that we identify chemicals that cause cancer, gene mutations or that are toxic to reproduction.

With respect to the different regulatory approaches in the consultation, HEAL does not think that making post-jure changes to the democratically agreed existing pesticides and biocides laws, which already allow for exceptions in case of need, is acceptable. Firstly, because the changes being considered would not be subject to a fully democratic legislative process, the way the pesticides and biocides laws were decided, and secondly because either of the two options (B or C) would essentially build a different escape hatch for hormone disrupting pesticides and biocides, which we had already, as a society, agreed must be phased out – unless they qualify for the already agreed exemptions built into the laws!

We have made our views known on the criteria, and insofar as the slanted format of the consultation allowed it, on the importance of the societal, environmental and health benefits that would come from properly identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals and proceeding with their phase out as agreed in the 2009 and 2011 laws.

HEAL and many other NGOs in the endocrine-disrupting chemicals-free Europe coalition, known as “EDC-Free Europe”, have facilitated the voices of a large number of citizens across Europe on this. So far over 18,000 people have also asked for use the three categories with the WHO definition, and for no change in the existing laws and exemptions.

What do you expect will come out of the Commission’s consultation?

We hope that the Commission will not be able to deny the political significance of (so far) over 18,000 people who have used our online platform to say it’s time to stop hormone disrupting chemicals from contaminating our environment and harming our health.

In the past, industry has greatly exaggerated the costs to their business, using models that are too static and limited. The agricultural industry has miscalculated the impact on farming yields by using bogus baselines, ignored or underestimated the benefits of adaptation, and so on. This has been detailed in the new report Predicted costs by industry in the face of new environmental regulations.

The Commission should conclude that we must systematically reduce our exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals and phase out their uses – something which will help prevent cancer, diabetes, obesity and infertility and can be an enormous catalyst for innovation and improvement because it will stimulate safer, healthier products and environments.

How many endocrine disrupting substances are a priority to you?

All those that are contaminating our bodies, our babies before birth, our breast milk and our environment.

HEAL supported and participated in the WWF human biomonitoring of three generations in Europe in 2005, and they found an average of at least 73 synthetic chemicals in the bodies of those tested. In the US, biomonitoring has found an average of 200 chemicals and contaminants already in newborns. Not all may be endocrine-disrupting chemicals, even though they are still hazardous and may interact with endocrine-disrupting chemicals to exert cocktail effects.

Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans is also in charge of ‘better regulation’ and cutting red tape. Do you fear that regulation on endocrine disruptors could be one of the areas that he would consider scrapping?

Junker and Timmermans have stressed many times that they want the Commission to make a fresh start and bring the EU closer to citizens again.

Protection against exposure to endocrine disruptors is a key issue for people all over Europe. Consider for example the thousands of people in Germany using an app to detect endocrine disrupting chemicals in consumer products, the pregnant women in Denmark who consult a guide on endocrine-disrupting chemicals and how to avoid them, and the huge numbers of others throughout Europe who feel it necessary to empty food from plastic packaging before heating or microwaving.

The Parliament has made it abundantly clear they’re expecting the EU to act to reduce harm from endocrine disrupting chemicals. in December, nine EU member states – including Denmark, Germany, France and others – launched an initiative to urge the Commission to act. Several member states are frontrunners in adopting laws to phase out endocrine-disrupting chemicals in products.

Surely Timmermans doesn’t want to ignore all these concerns?

In addition, a recent assessment on cutting red tape in Europe by the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens found that environmental regulation accounts for less than 1% of the total administrative burden, with regulations in the areas of taxation/customs and annual accounts having a much higher toll.

We therefore hope that Timmermans will share our view that regulation on endocrine-disrupting chemicals is not only crucial to protect public health but also can actually be a driver for innovation towards less harmful chemicals. After all, he is also in charge of sustainable development in the EU. ”  – 16/01/2015.

EU lobby register: still failing to deliver real transparency

Why does the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver?

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New ALTER-EU report shows why the current EU lobby register is still failing to deliver real transparency. NGOs file complaint about misleading Goldman Sachs registration.

New research published January 27, 2015 shows that too many major lobby organisations, including financial lobbyists the City of London Corporation and Credit Suisse; major corporations such as Electrabel, Anglo American and General Motors; law firms such as Covington & Burling and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; and lobby consultancies, are not listed in the lobby transparency register despite being active in EU lobbying.

The research by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) – a coalition of over 200 civil society groups and trade unions concerned with the increasing influence exerted by corporate lobbyists on the political agenda in Europe – has beeen published on the same day as the re-launch of the Commission-Parliament joint lobby transparency register. The current voluntary approach to lobby regulation does not give an accurate picture of lobbying in Brussels, and the Commission’s proposal for an inter-institutional agreement will not be the solution as it will not be binding on lobbyists. For ALTER-EU, the changes being introduced are minimal and will not solve its fundamental problems.

ALTER-EU’s research shows that too many entries within the register are based on unreliable or even misleading data. Some examples include:

  • Goldman Sachs declares less than €50,000 lobby expenditure in 2013 whilst spending significantly more than that paying others to lobby on its behalf during the same period. This has now been the subject of a complaint by NGOs.
  • Around 150 lobby consultancies, law firms or consultants fail to disclose their clients’ names despite this being a clear breach of the rules.
  • Google and Novartis list more European Parliament accredited pass-holders than their total number of lobbyists which cannot be correct, according to the register rules.
  • More than 200 lobby consultancies, law firms or consultants mask their clients’ identities by naming them only as acronyms, which is another breach of the rules.
  • Consultancy BearingPoint declares that it is not a lobby firm and that it has zero lobbyists but states that its lobby turnover is a staggering €552,795,000!

There are many other anomalous entries detailed in the report.

Paul de Clerck of ALTER EU steering committee member Friends of the Earth Europe says:

The Commission’s proposed inter-institutional agreement to introduce a so-called mandatory lobby register is misleading, as it will not be binding on lobbyists and thus not be mandatory. What is needed is a legislative proposal, to ensure that lobbyists are legally obliged to be fully open and honest about all their lobbying activities and to ensure that strong sanctions can be applied in case of breaches of the register.”

Nina Katzemich of steering committee member LobbyControl added:

Even with the relaunched register, lobbyists can still choose if they want to be be transparent, and they can still appear in the register with totally misleading data. Despite the fact that registering is now a condition for meeting with Commissioners, without fundamental changes to the quality of the register, lobbyists can give a totally wrong impression of their lobbying activities and still get access to high level decision-makers. This is what happened, for example, in the case of Goldman Sachs. Their registration is subject to a complaint by LobbyControl, Corporate Europe Observatory and Friends of the Earth Europe, filed today.”

Helen Darbishire, of steering committee member Access Info Europe says:

Campaigners, journalists, and all EU citizens have a right to know who is lobbying our decision-makers, on which dossiers, and how much money they spend on lobbying. Full transparency is essential for getting a true picture of lobbying in Brussels and for ensuring balanced input of the views of all stakeholders.”

The European Parliament has long demanded a tougher approach to EU lobby regulation. ALTER-EU calls on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal for a legally-binding lobby register by the end of 2015, with the aim of the new register being operational by mid-2017.

Sources and more information

ALTER-EU Europe’s campaign for lobbying transparencyALTER-EU Europe’s campaign for lobbying transparency
  • EU lobby register: still failing to deliver real transparency, press-releases and PDF January 27, 2015.
  • New and Improved? Why the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver, PDF January 27, 2015.