More on Lobbying and Corruption

In the UK there is outrage about lobbying on behalf of private enterprises by ex-prime ministers and top civil servants, Parliament has demanded an investigation and expects to see changes made. Meanwhile MEPs in Brussels have taken a different approach to their own activities.*

Quotations are from EUObserver: 16 April 2021 [1]

Headline: MEPs reject greater transparency in hidden vote

This story is consistent with some of our earlier posts on lobbying and corruption in the European Parliament, notably [2] and [3].

MEPs in a committee have voted down efforts to make the European Parliament more transparent, refusing also to shame lobbyists convicted of fraud and corruption.”

Although the report itself passed, the majority of MEPs in the constitutional affairs committee (Afco) scuppered proposals to make themselves more accountable.”

The MEPs were members of the constitutional affairs committee (Afco), and their report rejected “proposals to make themselves more accountable”; MEPs have previously declined to be publicly accountable.

The current EU joint transparency register lists thousands of lobbyists that attempt to shape and influence lawmakers and policy makers.”

Among the stated goals was to bring the EU institutions closer to the public.”

A report from one MEP demanded that a binding system should be set up “to prevent unregistered lobbyists from meeting MEPs” but this was rejected by a majority of the committee. Thus the register is neither mandatory nor binding.

Another amendment, seeking to inform the public via an annual report of lobbyists convicted of crimes such as fraud and corruption, was dismissed by 17 against, 10 in favour, and one abstention.”

Even a proposal to ensure that the committee follows through on European Parliament commitments on transparency and lobbying was rejected.”

The article ends with an ironic comment, which may even be intended as polite satire:

The report will now go to the plenary for a vote from all the MEPs, against the backdrop of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, intended to promote civic engagement with the EU.”

[1] https://euobserver.com/democracy/151541

[2] Lobbying, Corruption and EU Decision-Making

[3] Expensives-2

Here are a few more posts on topics related to this issue:

This Information, Disinformation, No Information

Secrets & Obfuscations

Timely Judgement

Revealing Appointment

* David Cameron left office to join Greensill Capital and used his contacts in government to lobby on the company’s behalf for it to benefit from a public-funding scheme (Greensill is facing insolvency). Specifically he texted the Chancellor. It seems some top civil servants also have private sector jobs; these are declared but have to be approved by other top civil servants—incestuous perhaps. An inquiry is being established to look into all this and many are demanding that the rules be clarified and updated.


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