Brussels, 20 July 2009 – Following a complaint by Friends of the Earth Europe, the European Commission has suspended CEFIC from the lobby register for 8 weeks. The lobby registration of CEFIC, the main lobby group of the chemical industry in Brussels, was deemed inaccurate by the Commission. Friends of the Earth Europe calls on the Commission to exclude CEFIC from all further lobby events.
CEFIC is the Brussels-based organisation representing the European chemical industry. It represents 29,000 companies, employs more than 170 staff and claims a yearly budget of 37.9 million Euros. Yet, CEFIC estimated that its costs directly related to representing interests to EU institutions, in 2007, were less than 50,000 Euros .
On 10 June 2009, Friends of the Earth Europe complained to the European Commission about this figure. As the reported lobby budget should include staff costs for lobbying, but also costs for publications, positioning papers and lobby events, the figure is unrealistically low. The Commission has now concluded that 'The Secretariat General has received some information from CEFIC that led it to consider that the declaration of CEFIC may indeed raise problems as regards its estimation of expenditures which appears to be underestimated, therefore breaching rule N° 4 of the code of conduct' . The Commission has therefore suspended CEFIC for a period of 8 weeks from the register. CEFIC is invited to correct its stated lobby budget. At the end of this period, the Secretariat General will re-examine the situation in the light of any new elements.
Before submitting the complaint to the Commission, Friends of the Earth Europe asked CEFIC for a clarification of their lobby budget. CEFIC never responded to this request.
Paul de Clerck, Corporates Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said 'CEFIC is not at all transparent about its lobby work. They made a joke of the Commission's lobby register by reporting a completely false lobby budget. We are pleased to see that the Commission is not accepting this type of behaviour'.
Friends of the Earth Europe calls on the Commission to exclude CEFIC from further lobby events and opportunities, until they have reported correctly and in full openness about their lobby budgets.
According to Paul de Clerck, 'If the Commission takes its own lobby register seriously, it should sanction CEFIC for its false registration. CEFIC should be excluded from all further lobby events, as it is not respecting today's transparency rules'.
The complaint of Friends of the Earth Europe to the Commission can be found in uploaded documents, above
 See http://www.cefic.org/en/about-cefic.html and see the registration of CEFIC in the Register of Interest Representation of the European Commission: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/transparency/regrin/consultation/displaylobbyist.do?id=2343574627-88
 See e-mail from the Secretariat General to Friends of the Earth Europe in uploaded documents, above