Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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EU in Crisis conference - Essays

Ahead of the EU in Crisis conference on 5-6 May in Brussels, Corporate Europe Observatory has invited several authors and commentators to contribute essays on some of the themes of the conference, to inspire debate and comment. In the coming weeks, these essays will be published below. The essays represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of CEO but we hope that you will find them interesting and thought-provoking. Don't forget to register for the conference if you have not already done so!

 

Revolt brewing across Europe? Don’t get out your pitchforks and torches just yet

Where does resistance to austerity in Europe stand, four years into the crisis? Journalist Leigh Phillips, until recently based in Brussels, where he reported for the EUobserver and the Guardian, assesses the situation and identifies four priorities for a progressive anti-austerity movement in Europe.

Read the essay

The European crisis in the context of finance capitalism

The establishment of the European Monetary Union in the ’90s and the introduction of the euro a decade ago have accelerated the financialisation process in Europe. Antonio Tricarico of Italy's Campaign to Reform the World Bank calls for reflection on how to implement a strategy for excluding financial markets from certain spheres of society through the redefinition of public finance, and for reintroducing controls for movements of capital at national and regional level.

Read the essay

 

European Union uses eurocrisis as alibi to push privatisation of water services

In response to the eurocrisis, most EU countries are imposing austerity policies designed to reduce public deficits and bring down state debts by cutting down public spending on health care, education, social services, nature preservation, development aid and more. Jan Willem Goudriaan, deputy secretary general of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), tells the story of how the EU sought to brush away a clear no of the Italian people against water privatisation but how this failed as a result of strong campaigning by the broad and vibrant Italian Water Movement.

Read the essay

 

Europe – beyond supranationalism

Back in 2009, when the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, many observers expected a pause in the European integration process after almost a decade of hard bargaining over the revision of the Union’s contractual foundations. But since the start of the eurozone crisis, Europe has come up with more and more mechanisms designed to impose drastic and lasting restrictions on the power of national governments to pursue their own budgetary and social policies. The reconstruction of the eurozone and the EU is in full swing. Political economist and ATTAC Germany council member Alexis Passadakis analyses these developments and identifies options for resistance.

Read the essay

 

The eurocrisis and the crisis of neoliberal Europe: dilemmas for Europe’s transnational corporate elite

As the recent worries about Spain becoming ‘the next Greece’ show, the so-called eurocrisis is far from over. While the European Central Bank had bought time by pumping more than one trillion euros into Europe’s banks, none of the underlying structural problems have been solved. In fact no serious attempt has been made to address the deeper causes of the crisis. Political scientist Bastiaan van Apeldoorn argues that the eurocrisis expresses the failure of a neoliberal European project driven by a transnational corporate elite.

Read the essay

Europe Inc. in crisis - the EU's alliance with big business is a dead-end

In 1997, at the time of the EU Counter Summit from Below, four friends in Amsterdam set up Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and published the report Europe, Inc.: Dangerous Liaisons between EU Institutions and Industry. This first CEO report uncovered the powerful role of lobby groups such as the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), in promoting and shaping an EU-wide free trade area (the single market), a single currency (the euro), and numerous other major EU projects and policies at the time. The report warned that the far-reaching influence of corporate lobbies over EU decision-making came at the expense of democracy and of social and environmental concerns. Fifteen years later, CEO co-founder Olivier Hoedeman takes stock.

Read the essay

Stop listening to banks

The financial and economic crisis has revealed how entrenched the power of banks is in the European Union. In this EU in Crisis essay, Corporate Europe Observatory’s Kenneth Haar describes the wave of financial regulation that was set in motion with the crisis of 2008. By now most of this regulation has been passed, and although details are still missing, there’s plenty of evidence to show that the banks are being let off the hook. Looking back, banking lobbyists can conclude that decision makers have practically fallen over themselves to serve the banking industry’s interests. The dream of a European Union that would curb the power of finance has become a joke, and instead we’ve seen a bankers’ Europe emerge that may make even Wall Street envious.

Read the essay

 

The resistance movement in Greece: challenges and alternatives

In this second essay in our EU in crisis series, Lina Filopoulou, who is active in the Athens Neighborhood Assembly, describes the development of the Greek resistance against the austerity programmes imposed on Greece as a condition for receiving ECB-IMF-EU loans. She also looks at the future potential of these movements.

Read the essay

Spain in crisis: the role of the EU

The Spanish economist and activist Miren Etxezarreta will be one of the speakers at CEO’s EU in Crisis conference on 5-6th May 2012. Miren has commented extensively on the causes of the crisis – and in particular on the situation in Spain. The article below comes from a longer essay, Boom and (deep) crisis in the Spanish economy: the role of the EU in its evolution, by Miren Etxezarreta, Francisco Navarro, Ramón Ribera and Victòria Soldevila, who are all members of the Seminario de Economía Crítica TAIFA. The summary text published here was prepared by Corporate Europe Observatory with permission from Miren. Full details, including graphs and tables, are available in the original.

Read the essay

 Revolt brewing across Europe? Don’t get out your pitchforks and torches just yetWhere does resistance to austerity in Europe stand, four years into the crisis? Journalist Leigh Phillips, until recently based in Brussels, where he reported for the EUobserver and the Guardian, assesses the situation and identifies four priorities for a progressive anti-austerity movement in Europe.Read the essayThe European crisis in the context of finance capitalismThe establishment of the European Monetary Union in the ’90s and the introduction of the euro a decade ago have accelerated the financialisation process in Europe. Antonio Tricarico of Italy's Campaign to Reform the World Bank calls for reflection on how to implement a strategy for excluding financial markets from certain spheres of society through the redefinition of public finance, and for reintroducing controls for movements of capital at national and regional level.Read the essay European Union uses eurocrisis as alibi to push privatisation of water servicesIn response to the eurocrisis, most EU countries are imposing austerity policies designed to reduce public deficits and bring down state debts by cutting down public spending on health care, education, social services, nature preservation, development aid and more. Jan Willem Goudriaan, deputy secretary general of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), tells the story of how the EU sought to brush away a clear no of the Italian people against water privatisation but how this failed as a result of strong campaigning by the broad and vibrant Italian Water Movement.Read the essay Europe – beyond supranationalismBack in 2009, when the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, many observers expected a pause in the European integration process after almost a decade of hard bargaining over the revision of the Union’s contractual foundations. But since the start of the eurozone crisis, Europe has come up with more and more mechanisms designed to impose drastic and lasting restrictions on the power of national governments to pursue their own budgetary and social policies. The reconstruction of the eurozone and the EU is in full swing. Political economist and ATTAC Germany council member Alexis Passadakis analyses these developments and identifies options for resistance.Read the essay The eurocrisis and the crisis of neoliberal Europe: dilemmas for Europe’s transnational corporate eliteAs the recent worries about Spain becoming ‘the next Greece’ show, the so-called eurocrisis is far from over. While the European Central Bank had bought time by pumping more than one trillion euros into Europe’s banks, none of the underlying structural problems have been solved. In fact no serious attempt has been made to address the deeper causes of the crisis. Political scientist Bastiaan van Apeldoorn argues that the eurocrisis expresses the failure of a neoliberal European project driven by a transnational corporate elite.Read the essayEurope Inc. in crisis - the EU's alliance with big business is a dead-endIn 1997, at the time of the EU Counter Summit from Below, four friends in Amsterdam set up Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and published the report Europe, Inc.: Dangerous Liaisons between EU Institutions and Industry. This first CEO report uncovered the powerful role of lobby groups such as the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), in promoting and shaping an EU-wide free trade area (the single market), a single currency (the euro), and numerous other major EU projects and policies at the time. The report warned that the far-reaching influence of corporate lobbies over EU decision-making came at the expense of democracy and of social and environmental concerns. Fifteen years later, CEO co-founder Olivier Hoedeman takes stock.Read the essayStop listening to banksThe financial and economic crisis has revealed how entrenched the power of banks is in the European Union. In this EU in Crisis essay, Corporate Europe Observatory’s Kenneth Haar describes the wave of financial regulation that was set in motion with the crisis of 2008. By now most of this regulation has been passed, and although details are still missing, there’s plenty of evidence to show that the banks are being let off the hook. Looking back, banking lobbyists can conclude that decision makers have practically fallen over themselves to serve the banking industry’s interests. The dream of a European Union that would curb the power of finance has become a joke, and instead we’ve seen a bankers’ Europe emerge that may make even Wall Street envious.Read the essay The resistance movement in Greece: challenges and alternativesIn this second essay in our EU in crisis series, Lina Filopoulou, who is active in the Athens Neighborhood Assembly, describes the development of the Greek resistance against the austerity programmes imposed on Greece as a condition for receiving ECB-IMF-EU loans. She also looks at the future potential of these movements.Read the essaySpain in crisis: the role of the EUThe Spanish economist and activist Miren Etxezarreta will be one of the speakers at CEO’s EU in Crisis conference on 5-6th May 2012. Miren has commented extensively on the causes of the crisis – and in particular on the situation in Spain. The article below comes from a longer essay, Boom and (deep) crisis in the Spanish economy: the role of the EU in its evolution, by Miren Etxezarreta, Francisco Navarro, Ramón Ribera and Victòria Soldevila, who are all members of the Seminario de Economía Crítica TAIFA. The summary text published here was prepared by Corporate Europe Observatory with permission from Miren. Full details, including graphs and tables, are available in the original.Read the essay
 

Canadian company TransCanada wants to sue the US for over US$15 billion in compensation - because President Obama rejected the contested Keystone XL oil pipeline. Another warning sign for extreme corporate rights in EU trade deals such as TTIP and CETA.

For the past two years, an unprecedented Europe-wide public controversy about a once-unknown element in international trade agreements has kept citizens, politicians and the media on their toes. It’s all been about the so-called investor-state dispute settlement system, in short, ISDS.

The voice of the Dutch Government has been loud and clear in Brussels on the issue of cisgenic plants. The Dutch have waged a sustained campaign to have new GM techniques – and in particular cisgenesis – excluded from EU GMO regulations. Several Dutch ministries, the Dutch Parliament, the Dutch Permanent Representation in Brussels, and Dutch MEPs have energetically pursued this goal.

The biotech industry is staging an audacious bid to have a whole new generation of genetic engineering techniques excluded from European regulations. The pending decision of the European Commission on the regulation of these so-called 'new GMOs' represents a climax point in the ongoing below-the-radar attack by industry on GM laws.

Corporate Europe Observatory is looking for an experienced campaigner to join our team and strengthen our work on exposing and challenging corporate lobbying capture of EU decision-making. Please respond before Wednesday May 18th 2016. The position is based in Brussels, in our office in the Mundo-B building in Brussels. Starting date July 1st 2016 (a later start date can be discussed).

You would be part of the 'lobbyocracy' team within CEO, covering issues including the corporate capture of advisory groups, lobbying secrecy, etc.

Story

A telling mistake

Ms Barbara Gallani, who will become EFSA's Director for Communications from 1 May was up until late March 2016 working for the largest lobby group for the food and drink industry in the UK, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

Splits occur within European Commission, as European Parliament, Ombudsman and NGOs increase the pressure for implementing UN rules for contacts with tobacco industry lobbyists.

The European Commission has shelved a legal opinion confirming that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced through gene-editing and other new techniques fall under EU GMO law, following pressure from the US government. A series of internal Commission documents obtained under freedom of information rules reveal intense lobbying by US representatives for the EU to disregard its GMO rules, which require safety testing and labelling.

The corporate lobby tour

Stop the Crop

Alternative Trade Mandate