Decision-makers in Brussels decide on many issues which affect our daily lives. And for every important decision made, corporate lobbyists are there: meeting officials, sitting on top-level advisory groups, wining and dining politicians, drafting amendments... and all too often, these tactics work.
Lobbying works in Brussels, partly because it is able to operate in the shadows, and away from the glare of publicity. Thousands of lobbyists boycott the voluntary EU lobby register including virtually all law firms that lobby on behalf of industry clients. Many of the companies and organisations that do sign up, fail to provide comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information on their activities.
Right now, the lobby register is being reviewed in a series of meetings (mostly held in secret) between the Commission and the European Parliament. In November, they will finalise their views.
The European Water Movement has co-signed the following letter to Rainer Wieland MEP, European Parliament Vice-President for Transparency and chair of the group to review the EU lobby register.
Dear Mr Wieland
Under the current voluntary EU lobby register, too many lobbyists conduct their lobbying secretively and unethically. This does citizens like me, and the public interest, a great disservice.
I want to know who is trying to gain influence on EU politics, with what budget, on which issues and on whose behalf. This situation can only be delivered by the transition to a register in which all lobbyists conducting their work in Brussels have to register. It also needs a clear and enforceable ethics code and strong measures to support full transparency while the new register is introduced.
As the European Parliament's Vice-President for Transparency, it is vital that you stand up for lobbying transparency and implement the view of the majority of MEPs who supported the transition to a mandatory lobby register in their vote in May 2011.