Europe’s unregulated lobbying opens door to corruption

Publikováno: 15. dubna 2015

Report on 19 european countries and 3 EU institutions shows undue influence on politict across the region and in Brussels.

Infografika - Lobbing v EU

Transparency International said today that Europe urgently needs lobbying reform. A new report from the anti-corruption group found that of 19 European countries assessed, only 7 have some form of dedicated lobbying law or regulation, allowing for nearly unfettered influence of business interests on the daily lives of Europeans.

The 19 countries together score just 31 per cent (out of 100 per cent) when measured against international lobbying standards and best practice in the report “Lobbying in Europe: Hidden Influence, Privileged Access”. The new report, the first ever comprehensive assessment on lobbying in the region, studies how well political decision-making is protected from undue influence.

“In the past five years, Europe’s leaders have made difficult economic decisions that have had big consequences for citizens. Those citizens need to know that decision-makers were acting in the public interest, not the interest of a few select players,” said Elena Panfilova, Vice-Chair of Transparency International.

Despite the fact that lobbying is an integral part of a healthy democracy, multiple scandals throughout Europe demonstrate that without clear and enforceable rules and regulations, a select number of voices with more money and insider contacts can come to dominate political decision-making – usually for their own benefit.

The report examines lobbying practices as well as whether safeguards are in place to ensure transparent and ethical lobbying in Europe and three core European Union institutions. It looks at whether there are sufficient mechanisms allowing fair and equal access to decision-makers.

Slovenia comes out at the top with a score of 55 per cent, owing to the dedicated lobbying regulation in place, which nevertheless suffers from gaps and loopholes. Cyprus and Hungary rank at the bottom with 14 per cent, performing poorly in almost every area assessed, especially when it comes to access to information.

Eurozone crisis countries Italy, Portugal and Spain are among the five worst-performing countries, where lobbying practices and close relations between the public and financial sectors are deemed risky. The report shows that post-crisis financial sector reform efforts at the national and EU levels have been thwarted and watered down, in large part due to intense lobbying by the financial sector in Europe.

More at transparency.org

Publication available here.

Interactive infographics here.

“In the past five years, Europe’s leaders have made difficult economic decisions that have had big consequences for citizens. Those citizens need to know that decision-makers were acting in the public interest, not the interest of a few select players,” said Elena Panfilova, Vice-Chair of Transparency International.