Background

Two major issues marked 2009 and 2010: the financial crisis and the climate crisis. On both fronts corporate lobbying directed to EU decision-makers – in the European Parliament and Commission, but also in national Member States – has been as intense as it was successful. The failure of the Copenhagen talks on the one hand, and the lack of strong reforms on the financial markets on the other hand, have demonstrated the strength and the powerful strategies of business when it comes to for-profit lobbying at the expense of more climate- and consumer-friendly regulation; hence the twofold focus on climate and finance of the 2010 edition of the Worst EU Lobbying Awards.
The overall aim of the awards is to expose and counter the dirty lobbying tactics related to climate change policies and financial regulation in order to make the big business lobby less credible among EU decision-making circles. In their daily work, civil society organisations have noticed and witnessed the disproportionate influence business groups are allowed on EU policy-making in these fields, including through privileged access to decision-makers. In addition to being problematic per se, privileged access gained by using unethical lobby tactics is even more concerning/condemnable and makes a compelling case for reform.
The Awards also highlight the need for mandatory transparency and ethics rules for EU lobbying. The European Commission and the Parliament are currently negotiating on a joint register for lobbyists in the European Union that would be de facto mandatory. Interest representatives would have to sign up the joint register to get access passes to the European Parliament. This would involve for lobby groups to register themselves in a public register and to explain who they work for, and how much money is involved. But the lobbying register is voluntary, and it is so weak and flawed that it does not prevent lobbyists from working in the dark.

Lobby-Cleaner

Lobby-Cleaner, the Worst EU Lobbying Awards’ anti-heroine, roams the corridors of power cleaning lobbies, and cleaning lobbying. She is here to clean up the mess created by corporate lobbyists in Brussels.

She will make her first appearance at the launch of the Awards, October 13th, and will reappear throughout Brussels and Europe during the voting phase. Lobby-Cleaner is not alone, there is an army of Lobby-Cleaners out there, and you can join the ranks – first with your vote, and second by mobilising to put pressure on your MEPs and EU decision-makers to push for mandatory transparency and ethics rules for EU lobbying.

Categories in 2010

This year there are two categories in the Worst EU Lobbying Awards – climate and financial regulation. The climate and the financial crisis are two crucial policy areas where intense industry lobbying has blocked effective climate and consumer-friendly regulation.
Climate: Ahead of the kick start of the climate negotiations in Cancun, the Climate Worst EU Lobbying Award highlights companies or lobby groups that in 2010 have employed problematic lobbying tactics in their attempts to undermine ambitious EU policies on climate. Nominees have been using false arguments and threats to block regulation and promote the profits of a part only of European industry, again at the expense of the public needs.
Partners in the climate categories are: Oxfam, Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe), World Development Movement
Finance: In the aftermath of the terrible financial crisis that hit in 2008, the Finance Worst EU lobbying Award highlights companies or lobby groups that in 2010 have used problematic lobby tactics in their attempts to block the financial regulation needed to fix the crisis.
Nominees have been lobbying in secret (effort to hide from public eye is very strong) to promote profits of financial industry at the expense of public interest and welfare of society
Partners in the finance category are: ATTAC Europe, World Development Movement.
Communications of the awards is supported by 38 degrees and Campact.

Timeline

October 13th, 2010: Start of internet voting
November 26th, 2010: Voting closed
December 2nd, 2010: Announcement of the winners of the 2010 Worst EU Lobbying Awards

Legal check

Legal check of the nomination texts by Arnoud Engelfriet – www.arnoud.engelfriet.net

History of the awards

The awards were born in 2005 out of the willingness of four organisations – Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, Lobby Control and Spinwatch – to publicise their campaigning on transparency and lobbying through a publicly appealing event. Over the course of the years, the Worst EU Lobby Awards (WLA) have become a benchmark for whoever is interested in monitoring lobbying practices in Brussels. They have provided the organisers with a yearly media opportunity to communicate around dirty and shady lobbying, cases of conflicts of interest and greenwashing. Brussels-based journalists continually enquire about the event and public voting has grown steadily over the years, clearly demonstrating the European public interest for transparency issues.

Organisers of the 2010 Worst EU Lobbying Awards

Corporate Europe Observatory is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making. This corporate capture of EU decision-making leads to policies that exacerbate social injustice and accelerate environmental destruction across the world.

Friends of the Earth Europe campaigns for sustainable and just societies and for the protection of the environment, unites more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International.

LobbyControl is a German non-profit initiative campaigning for boundaries and transparency in the field of lobbying while aiming for a lively and open democracy. It observes strategies of interference, power structures and lobbying activities in Berlin and Brussels and throws light on the work of think-tanks and the manipulation of media.

Spinwatch is an independent non-profit making organisation which monitors the role of public relations and spin in contemporary society. Founded in 2004, it promotes greater understanding of the role of PR, propaganda and lobbying through its website and through campaigning activities, including media appearances, book and pamphlet writing, ‘Spinwalks’ and investigative reporting.

Climate partners

Oxfam is a global movement of people working with others to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.  Working directly with communities Oxfam seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them. Campaigns tackle the underlying policies and practices which create and sustain poverty including climate change, because it is hitting the world’s poorest people first and hardest. Read more…

Climate Action network Europe (CAN-E) is recognised as Europe's leading network working on climate and energy issues. With 129 members in 25 European countries, CAN-E unites to work to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable energy and environment policy in Europe. Read more…

World Development Movement (WDM) campaigns to establish economic justice. This means the right of poor communities to determine their own path out of poverty, and an end to harmful policies which put profit before people and the environment. WDM lobby decision-makers, organise public campaigning and produce robust research to win change for the world's poorest people. WDM investigate, expose and challenge government policies and corporate actions that harm vulnerable communities and trap people in poverty. Read more…

Finance partners

ATTAC, the "Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens" was founded in France in 1998 and is an international organisation and network in the global justice movement with active groups in about 40 countries. Attac fight against neoliberal globalisation and work jointly to promote social, environmental and democratic alternatives in the globalisation process. Attac stands for the regulation of financial markets, the closure of tax havens, the introduction of global taxes to finance global public goods, the cancellation of developing countries' debts and for justice in the regulation of trade.  Read more…

World Development Movement (WDM) campaigns to establish economic justice. This means the right of poor communities to determine their own path out of poverty, and an end to harmful policies which put profit before people and the environment. WDM lobby decision-makers, organise public campaigning and produce robust research to win change for the world's poorest people. WDM investigate, expose and challenge government policies and corporate actions that harm vulnerable communities and trap people in poverty. Read more…

Communications partners

38 degrees is a people powered campaigning community of over 175,000 UK citizens. 38 Degrees members campaign together for a fairer, greener, more democratic UK. In May 2010 thousands of 38 Degrees members helped persuade the UK government to promise tighter rules to stop secret corporate lobbying. Read more…

Campact represents an increasingly dense network of people who intervene when political decisions are on the rocks. Campact make a large impact by emailing, sending faxes or making calls to vote against well organised lobby interests. Campact enables people to get politically involved even if they do not have much time because of their studies, their jobs and/or their family. Read more…