As the European Commission reaches half-time in its term of office, campaigners are calling for urgent action to address the bias towards corporate interests as evidenced by data on lobby meetings held by Commissioners.
At the start of his mandate, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged new rules for lobbying and appeared to recognise the problem of corporate bias, saying "...Members of the Commission should seek to ensure an appropriate balance and representativeness in the stakeholders they meet." However, an ALTER EU analysis of Commissioners' encounters with lobbyists over the last two and a half years shows that President Juncker has failed to deliver on this promise.
Alter EU is now calling on the Juncker Commission to properly implement the instruction and ensure the end of the Commission's corporate bias.
Myriam Douo from ALTER-EU and Friends of the Earth Europe said: "At half-time, we are giving the European Commission a yellow card. Jean-Claude Juncker admitted that corporate bias in the Commission was a problem when he took office. Yet, despite his pledge, little has changed.
"Too many of Team Juncker's most lobbied Commissioners have dedicated more than 60 per cent of their lobby encounters to corporate interest lobbyists. We see this corporate bias reflected in how the Commission is handling TTIP, CETA, Dieselgate, Better Regulation, to name but a few dossiers, where corporate interests override citizens' concerns. Juncker needs to act now to make sure his players know, understand, and play by the rules."
The worst-offending Commissioners are Elzbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, with 87 per cent ofencounters with business interests; Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources for whom the figure is 83 per cent; and Jryki Katainen, Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness – 79 per cent.
The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) is 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. See www.alter-eu.org