Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

The Brussels Business – Who Runs the European Union?

The Brussels Business - Who Runs the European Union? - which puts the spotlight on the power of the lobbying industry in Brussels - is to have its Belgian Premiere at the Millenium Documentary Film Festival in Brussels on Thursday 19 April 2012. Corporate Europe Observatory was approached by the filmmakers at the start of their project and our early work features prominently in the film, which tells the story of how industry lobby groups heavily influenced the EU's development from the 1980s onwards.

Since that time, the presence of industry lobbyists in Brussels has grown – as has their influence and the corporate agenda is clearly visible in the EU’s policies – including in its response to the crisis. This year, CEO celebrates its 15th birthday – and in May this year we will be marking the event with a conference that highlights the corporate influence on the current crises facing the European Union.

Here’s how the film-makers introduce “The Brus$els Business” movie:

“In the early 1990s two young men come across the huge influence of lobbying on the EU decision-making in Brussels. One starts to investigate and fight it and becomes the EU’s leading lobby-watchdog, the other becomes a high profile lobbyist for 40 multinational companies.

The film dives into the shadowy world of lobbying, the secretive networks of power and big business influence on EU-policy-making in Brussels. It tells the non-official version of the European Integration since the 1980s, the story of the neoliberal take-over in European politics.

At a time when Europe is facing a deep crisis that can bring the world economy to collapse this film tries to answer one question millions of people ask themselves: Who runs the European Union?”

You can find more information about the “The Brus$els Business” on the website and more information about the Millenium Documentary Film Festival here.

The movie will enter cinemas in other countries over the coming months, while the TV version will be showed on ARTE, Belgian, German and Austria TV in the autumn. 

Further reading

“The Brus$els Business” features a number of important cases of industry influence over the last 15-20 years which Corporate Europe Observatory has researched and documented. Here’s a selection of recommended reading:

Since that time, the presence of industry lobbyists in Brussels has grown – as has their influence and the corporate agenda is clearly visible in the EU’s policies – including in its response to the crisis. This year, CEO celebrates its 15th birthday – and in May this year we will be marking the event with a conference that highlights the corporate influence on the current crises facing the European Union.Here’s how the film-makers introduce “The Brus$els Business” movie:“In the early 1990s two young men come across the huge influence of lobbying on the EU decision-making in Brussels. One starts to investigate and fight it and becomes the EU’s leading lobby-watchdog, the other becomes a high profile lobbyist for 40 multinational companies.The film dives into the shadowy world of lobbying, the secretive networks of power and big business influence on EU-policy-making in Brussels. It tells the non-official version of the European Integration since the 1980s, the story of the neoliberal take-over in European politics.At a time when Europe is facing a deep crisis that can bring the world economy to collapse this film tries to answer one question millions of people ask themselves: Who runs the European Union?”You can find more information about the “The Brus$els Business” on the website and more information about the Millenium Documentary Film Festival here.The movie will enter cinemas in other countries over the coming months, while the TV version will be showed on ARTE, Belgian, German and Austria TV in the autumn. Further reading“The Brus$els Business” features a number of important cases of industry influence over the last 15-20 years which Corporate Europe Observatory has researched and documented. Here’s a selection of recommended reading:Europe Inc. – Regional and Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power, 2000, Pluto Press, London.The 2nd edition (2003) of Europe Inc. can still be ordered on line from Pluto Press.Here you can download pdfs of three chapters:Writing the Script: The European Roundtable of IndustrialistsPolishing the EMU: The Association for the Monetary Union of EuropeDoing Business in Amsterdam: The ERT, UNICE and the Treaty of Amsterdam “MAIGALOMANIA! Citizens and the Environment Sacrificed to Corporate Investment Agenda”, report on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), February 1998.“WTO Millennium Bug: TNC Control Over Global Trade Politics”, report about the proposed Millennium Round of negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, July 1999.“Would you bank on them?”, report about industry capture of the high-level EU advisory group on the financial crisis, February 2009
 

The European Commission proposal on scientific criteria defining endocrine disruptors (EDCs) is the latest dangerous outgrowth of a highly toxic debate. The chemical lobby, supported by certain Commission factions (notably DG SANTE and the Secretary-General) and some member states (UK and Germany), has put significant obstacles in the way of effective public health and environment regulation.

In the run up to the UK referendum on EU membership on 23 June, Corporate Europe Observatory has tabled a series of freedom of information requests to find out how UK finance lobbies have been influencing the referendum negotiations and the Capital Markets Union. But the Brexit-Bremain referendum seems to be a freedom of information black hole.

From the day a referendum on UK membership of the EU was first announced in 2013, the financial sector started using Cameron’s re-negotiation process to promote its deregulatory agenda. Sometimes lobbying was required, but more often the UK government did its work for them. 

A new report on carbon market reform has kicked off debate on the issue in the European Parliament. It promises new loopholes for the oil industry and other polluters.

Biodiversity collapse, the future of agriculture, politics versus science, EU States and the European Commission shifting blame on each other, industry's capture of the regulatory process through data secrecy, a Commissioner caught between Juncker, EU States, lobby groups, and his own services... The glyphosate saga, coming to an end this week with the European Commission's decision to extend its licence, has been an entry point into many broader problems. Overview.

The official EU assessment of glyphosate was based on unpublished studies owned by industry. Seven months later, the pesticide industry still fights disclosure and, so far, successfully. We obtained a copy of their arguments.

While CEO is not taking a position on the UK referendum, many of our publications are relevant to those who will have a vote, or those who are following the debate.

The current struggle in France over labour law reforms is not just between the Government and trade unions – a European battle is waged. The attacks on social rights stem in no small part from the web of EU-rules dubbed 'economic governance', invented to impose austerity policies on member states.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour