Big Tech lobby power in Brussels continues to grow
New analysis shows Big Tech increased its lobby spending by 16.5 per cent since 2021.
The tech industry spends over 113 million euros on lobbying in Brussels, a huge increase over just two years. This is shown by an updated analysis of the lobbying power and influence of the digital industry. The original study was published in 2021 by LobbyControl and Corporate Europe Observatory.
Two years after the publication of our report on the power and influence of digital corporations, the lobbying expenses of the tech industry have significantly increased: from 97 to 113 million euros. The sector increased its lobby spending by 16.5 per cent since 2021. The updated analysis documents a total of 651 companies and business associations lobbying the EU’s digital policies. The research is based on the website LobbyFacts which provides official EU lobby data.
The top 10 digital groups alone - including Meta, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon - are responsible for over a third of the overall sector's lobby spending, with a budget of €40 million. This means the tech sector continues to lead the way in terms of spending, ahead of the top 10 companies in the automobile and finance sector.
The growth in lobby spending is concentrated in the top 25 per cent of companies, led by Big Tech. Meta alone increased its annual lobbying expenditure from 5.5 to 8 million euros and is the financially strongest (tech) company in the entire lobby register. Apple comes directly in second: the company doubled its lobby expenditure from 3.5 million euros in 2020 to 7 million euros in 2022.
Verena Leyendecker of LobbyControl says:
"With their immense lobby power, Amazon, Meta & Co are trying to influence policy in the EU. This increase in resources for lobbying with a simultaneous increase in market concentration in this sector is worrying.
Big Tech in particular has a disproportionate number of opportunities to influence policy in their favor due to their enormous resources. To counter this, we need stricter rules for lobbying in Brussels, but also an ambitious enforcement of the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA). The DMA and the DSA offer ways to limit the power of Amazon & Co."
Bram Vranken from Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) says:
“These numbers show that Big Tech’s already immense presence has continued to grow exponentially over the past few years. Money should not buy access and influence to EU decision-making, but that seems to be exactly what these digital giants are aiming for.
Their lobbying not only threatens to fatally water down crucial legislation such as the Artificial Intelligence Act, but also undermines democratic decision-making. These numbers are another wake-up call to urgently close off privileged access for corporate lobbyists.”
Notes to the editor:
- More information on the updated study here
- Two years ago, LobbyControl and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) published a report on the power of the digital industry. It traced the lobbying activities of tech corporations in detail for the first time.
- The calculations on lobby spending are based on the online data tool Lobbyfacts.eu, which is operated by LobbyControl and Corporate Europe Observatory.
- Since the lobby expenses are given in ranges, we used the lower value for the analysis. Only for the category “0-9999” the mean value was calculated. We therefore provide a conservative estimate of lobby expenses of the digital industry.