Skip to main content

Totally dominant lobbies in a downgraded Europe – (part 9)

Barroso administration: Golden medal in serving interests

A research by the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)

Through the course of the crisis, attempts by corporations and corporate lobby groups to influence EU policies have probably been more successful than ever, in part due to a close relationship with the Commission.”

Corporate Europe Observatory has gathered a lot of evidence over time and covering many different areas that shows how the Commission is easily captured by corporate interests. This report is an attempt to produce a condensed version of how the Commission has come to act on behalf of corporations over the past five years, focusing on climate policies, agriculture and food, finance, economic, and fiscal policies.”

9 - Fighting progress tooth and nail

Key findings

Undoubtedly the biggest ethics scandal in recent years in the Commission was Dalligate, a complex cash for influence scandal involving EU Health Commissioner John Dalli and the tobacco lobby. The scandal broke in October 2012. [...] a commissioner forced to resign; allegations of demands for €60 million bribes; leaked secret reports; dodgy middle-men; revolving door lobbyists; allegations of institutional cover-ups; vital public health legislation disrupted... And how did the Commission respond? Business as usual. At the time, the Dalligate scandal rocked the Commission but 18 months on, President Barroso and Commissioner Šefčovič have done their best to brush it under the carpet.”

... Dalligate showed the Commission withholding key documents from public scrutiny, which the European Ombudsman has now said should be released, following a complaint by CEO. Dalligate also revealed commissioners holding meetings with unregistered lobbyists; that the code of conduct for lobbyists is not effectively enforced; and that the revolving door rules for EU staff are inadequate to prevent staff from lobbying the EU institutions whilst on sabbatical.”

A study by CEO in April 2014 found that 450 out of 700 of lobby groups, banks and financial industry companies that are lobbying to influence the EU in the area of finance and banking reform are not in the EU’s lobby transparency register. This includes major players like Goldman Sachs, HSBC, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Banco Santander, and many more.

... disclosure requirements are very limited, so even if lobbies are registered they are not required to give a comprehensive picture of their lobbying. [...] there is only very limited oversight of the information reported in the register, which is therefore often unreliable and outdated. Many industry lobbies are found to under-report on their lobby expenses (preferring to appear small) and the register is also riddled with errors. This hardly gives the impression that the Commission is very serious about lobby transparency.”

During three months of negotiations with MEPs, the Commission’s line was consistently to challenge and block proposals from MEPs for larger and smaller improvements of the register. The result is that improvements will be limited, mainly due to the Commission lacking the political will needed to move to a high-quality lobby transparency register.”

Contributions to online consultations and attendees of the civil society dialogue, a 2013 report by the Alternative Trade Mandate (ATM) observes, 'are dominated by lobby groups, mainly from the corporate sector and with an office in Brussels.' The questions asked in the online consultations 'are often leading and selective in terms of what is or is not asked.' This suggests, the ATM concludes, that the Commission seeks to fulfil its consultation obligations 'in a way that allows for consultation outcomes to be easily spun in support of predetermined policy initiatives.'”

... in 2010, the online consultation on the EU’s Concessions Directive used highly leading questions. The questions made it almost impossible to participate for citizens or organisations with a different opinion than the Commission’s. The Commission wanted a directive covering every sector, to bring these under Single Market rules and thereby promote further liberalisation and privatisation of public services. The questions focused almost exclusively on technical aspects of how to do this, not whether these were the right objectives for EU policy.”

Research by ALTER-EU one year after the budget freeze was lifted shows the Commission has gone back on its promise: many groups created since continue to be dominated by industry, while lobbyists continue to sit in groups in a personal capacity. The worst offender was DG Taxation and Customs, with almost 80 per cent of new members representing industry, compared to three per cent from small businesses.

In recent years, a significant number of commissioners and EU officials have walked through the ‘revolving door’ meaning that they have left their positions and started working for big business or lobby consultancies; and conversely, some lobbyists have passed through the revolving door from representing private interests to working for EU institutions. When this happens, big business gains huge opportunities to access inside-knowledge, vital contacts, and above all, powerful influence over the EU’s policy-making process. CEO’s RevolvingDoorWatch aims to keep track of these moves – and EU institutions’ failure to effectively regulate them.”

For EU officials, the rule book which includes revolving door regulations was revised in 2012-13 with Commissioner Šefčovič spearheading the changes. Yet he neglected to make proposals to tighten up the rules although MEPs did introduce some amendments which were a slight improvement. Yet major loopholes remain within these rules too. In particular, these must be tightened to include a major category of officials (those on temporary contracts), who are largely excluded at the moment, and who, as a result, are able to move back and forth between the EU institutions and the private sector with little official oversight.



Popular posts from this blog

Former CIA high-ranking official accidentally reveals the type of the false flag operation that the US imperialists will orchestrate to start a war with Iran

globinfo freexchange
In the following video, Jimmy Dore makes an analysis of an interview that the former CIA deputy director, Michael Morell, gave on CBS, regarding the recent developments after the assassination of the Iranian major general, Qasem Soleimani. 
Morell describes a probable scenario according to which the Iranians and their proxies could retaliate further. And therefore, this will naturally and eventually lead the US to start a war with Iran. As Morell points out:
                    Hopefully, that can de-escalate now, but that doesn't mean the covert war is over. [...] There are two things we need to think about here. One is, still, down the road, at some point, an assassination of a senior US official, somewhere in the world, could be months from now, to get revenge. And then, two, we still have to worry about those Iranian proxies. They may still attack US military bases ...

Note, that this interview was taken AFTER the Iranian retaliation through the missile att…

Suppression before uprising: how the system attempts to push societies away from the practice of protesting

globinfo freexchange
Six years ago we wrote that controlled information that reaches the media and reproduced by them, may include the overestimated capability of governments to monitor, for example, an extremely large number of phone conversations. Even if there is such a possibility, such huge amount of data is extremely difficult to be processed. However, the technology is evolving rapidly, and possibly will allow processing of large amount of data in very short time, in the near future. When technology will allow this, people will have already become familiar with the idea that any conversation can be investigated and processed any time.
Today, it seems that not only we reached that point, but the establishment apparatus seeks to 'train' us to accept an elevated form of suppression, through a rapidly growing surveillance technology.

A recent article published in NY Times proves that the establishment apparatus will seek to expand the suppression state in unprecedented leve…

Promoting 'authoritative propaganda': YouTube openly admits it systematically suppresses independent media!

globinfo freexchange

On mid-July we wrote that an increased number of people who run independent YouTube channels reported that are being demonetized. Also, they see the number of viewings and subscribers being reduced significantly.

We observed that while the blog subscribed to various independent YouTube channels, when we go to the first page and search specific terms like "Syria", "Venezuela", "Bernie Sanders", "Tulsi Gabbard", etc., the first results give numerous videos from Western mainstream media like MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, BBC, etc. We can hardly find a video from our subscriptions, way below those results.

We concluded that all signs show that we have to deal with a well-organized operation.

On the one hand, YouTube algorithm directs audiences to the mainstream media propaganda, in an effort to bound them tightly to the establishment narratives. On the other hand, independent YouTube channels will be gradually eliminated due to the sig…

Why the US imperialists will start a war with Iran right after the 2020 US presidential election

by system failure
Even before 2016 US presidential election we were arguing in this blog that Donald Trump is only the reserve of the establishment, a necessity solution. The first signs, right after his election, were indicating that we were right. Trump literally hired Goldman Sachs to run the economy and immediately authorized further tax-cuts for the super-rich, contrary to his pre-election rhetoric.
Then, things got even worse by hiring some of the most bloodthirsty neocons in key positions. Trump's 'anti-establishment' facade was rapidly collapsing as he was  starting to move towards the US deep state agenda. In fact, the only card left to play was that of his alleged 'anti-interventionism'. Yet, he succumbed further to the US pro-war cabal by bombing Syria, without even waiting to see some evidence about Assad's alleged chemical attacks against civilians. 
Beyond that, he continued Obama's awful legacy regarding the war in Yemen, by arming Saudis and…

Bolivia’s free territory of Chapare has ousted the coup regime and is bracing for a bloody re-invasion

Spending time with the union members of Chapare, who run society in a collective fashion, offers special insights into the resistance to the coup. They succeeded in expelling the police, but now fear a bloodbath in retaliation.

by Ollie Vargas
Part 1

Known as Bolivia’s Chapare region, the Tropico of Cochabamba is a sanctuary for elected President Evo Morales’ most dedicated base of support. Since the November 10 coup, it has effectively become a self-governing territory where the military junta is absent.

The police and military were sent in full retreat from this area the coup began and were told they would only be welcomed back if the they “get on their knees and apologize” to the community.

In this 12,000 square kilometer swath of land, hundreds of unions have flourished over the years. I spent several days with the union rank and file, witnessing how they run society in a collective fashion, and how they have organized ferocious resistance to a right-wing coup government that threat…

US-backed parties have infiltrated Lebanon’s protests, pushing the country toward war amid economic collapse

By joining the roadblocks around Beirut, protesters allowed themselves to be used by US-allied parties playing a dangerous game that has the potential to explode into open warfare
by Rania Khalek
Part 4 - Cooperation and integration versus the West’s recipe for fragmentation
The Lebanese economy is facing imminent collapse. Unemployment is spreading, prices are spiking and the street price of the Lebanese lira continues to devalue. There is little that can be done to avoid the collapse, which has been thirty years in the making.

The implosion of the Lebanese economy is spilling over into Syria, which was already teetering on the edge of economic collapse due to eight years of war, government mismanagement and US sanctions designed to collapse the country. Syria was relying on Lebanon as its access point to purchase goods for imports. Now that too is gone. Lebanon’s economic crisis is also affecting Syrian elites who placed their money in Lebanese banks during the war and cannot access i…

Antisemitism claims have one goal: To stop Jeremy Corbyn winning power

The Jewish community’s alienation from Labour has been years in the making - but it is Johnson's Conservatives who have embraced hostility to minorities
Jonathan Cook
Part 11 - One-sided programme
Respondents had been influenced, Philo pointed out, by headlines like “Corbyn’s antisemite army” or descriptions of Labour as “riddled with antisemites”. He also noted the role of the BBC, which is widely trusted, in bolstering the misleading coverage. 
Its recent Panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” presented 17 former Labour staffers attacking the Corbyn-led party. But the programme-makers failed to identify who these critics were. Many were in fact Israel lobbyists – one was even a former employee of the Israeli embassy in London.

While the show included one person replying to the complaints, it entirely excluded the many Jewish voices in Labour that defend Corbyn. Philo observed that both the BBC and Guardian, two media organisations often seen as offering a counterweight to th…

US-backed parties have infiltrated Lebanon’s protests, pushing the country toward war amid economic collapse

By joining the roadblocks around Beirut, protesters allowed themselves to be used by US-allied parties playing a dangerous game that has the potential to explode into open warfare
by Rania Khalek
Part 3 - Fear of Amal, hatred of corrupt leadership, and lack of ideology
In Tyre, protesters tore down Berri’s posters and torched the Tyre Rest House Resort, which they believe is owned by Randa Berri, though Nabih Berri denied it. When I visited Tyre two weeks later, hundreds of new posters of Berri had been erected that read, “the guarantor of Lebanon” and “we are all with you [Berri].”

The posters surrounded the small protest encampment located in a roundabout on the beach road. The protest was part art fair, part concert for families, with liberals and a few leftists filling the ranks. Demonstrators were careful not to name leaders like Berri in their chants and when interviewed, they often spoke in vague terms out of fear of Amal. Later in the night, Amal members provoked the protesters…

While Evo’s MAS party regroups, Bolivia’s coup leaders are eating each other alive

Humiliating scandals are destroying right-wing leader Luis Fernando Camacho and the right is fracturing as a more militant MAS party readies for an uphill election battle.
by Wyatt Reed
Part 2 - From right-wing golden boy to “damaged goods”
Luis Fernando Camacho rose to political prominence months ago, but cemented his status as coup figurehead after he broke into the Palacio Quemado, Bolivia’s presidential palace, with police assistance. In a bizarre act of colonialist kabuki theater, he placed a Bolivian flag and enormous Bible on the floor and declared that God had returned to the Presidential Palace.

Moments later, the pastor by Camacho’s side promised that “Pachamama will never return to the palace,” in a reference to the Andean spirit of Mother Earth.

As the former leader of the undeniably fascistic Union Juvenil Crucenista paramilitary and the separatist Santa Cruz Committee, Camacho has struggled to shake off a history of white supremacy and anti-indigenous violence. 
Marco Pum…

Ex-US intel officer: Pompeo 'lying through his teeth' on Iran

The Grayzone
The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Iran and defying Iraq's call for a US troop withdrawal. This comes as the stated rationale for the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is being undermined by its top officials' own statements. Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps intelligence officer, analyzes the increased White House coercion efforts and collapsing intelligence claims.