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09 September, 2016

Democracy completely crushed by the lobbyists

Biggest companies now spend 40% more on EU lobbying than in 2012

New research by LobbyFacts reveals that the 50 companies which declare spending the most on EU lobbying are spending 40 per cent more today than in 2012.

In July 2012, the top 50 biggest company spenders on EU lobbying declared a total of €76,213,190 but by 2016, the top 50 declared spending €106,379,583, a 40 per cent overall increase.

Fifteen companies from the 2012 top 50 list declared spending increases in the 2016 list; and some posted some very large increases in lobby expenditure. Volkswagen has moved up the rankings from place 35 in 2012, to 7 in 2016; Dow, from 28 in 2012, to 5 in 2016; and Google, from place 40 in 2012, to 6 in 2016. Meanwhile five companies have declared spending less on EU lobbying as of 2016 than they did in 2012. These include Ericsson which in 2012 was first in the rankings but by 2016, had fallen to position 46 in the LobbyFacts ranking.

There are 27 new entries in today’s top 50 which did not feature in the 2012 list, either because their spending was less or because they were not registered (the EU lobby register remains voluntary). These include Huawei Technologies and Deutsche Bank, both of whom who were not registered in 2012, but who now declare an annual lobby spend of €3,000,000 (ranking position 9) and €3,904,000 (ranking position 4) respectively.

And there are three companies who either have incredibly stable lobby spending year to year, or who make lazily repetitive entries. These include ExxonMobil and Microsoft who feature in the top 3 spenders in both 2012 and 2016.

Overall, the financial services sector has a stronger presence in the 2016 list (8 entries) than the 2012 list (4 entries), which is mainly a reflection of the fact that many big financial players were not registered in 2012. Energy is consistently represented in the 2012 and 2016 lists with 14 entries.

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