The European Union is one of the major geopolitical alliances of recent history. Policymakers in Brussels have a large influence over every citizen living in the EU. However, the exact workings of the EU and its institutions still remain an enigma for most people. Who does what? Who is actually in charge? And what even is a European Commission?
Lobbying is one of these things that has a big impact on policy but is as a concept not fully grasped by most people. Over recent years lobbying is no longer just an American concept. It came with the wind and has found a new home in Brussels. Which is now Europe’s lobbying capital. In the city alone there are about 30.000 lobbyists active. Trying to influence policy until it bends to their will.
It even goes further than that. The European Commission, the main lawmaking institution in the EU, takes most of its expertise from so-called expert groups. This is not a bad idea, you need experts with the knowledge to help you make good policies. But most of these expert groups consist of a majority of lobbying organizations. Pushing the legislature in a certain direction.
In this podcast, the details of lobbying are explained in various amounts of depth. Trying to make sense of a messy, woolly phenomenon that dictates European policy. Hans van Scharen from the corporate Europe observatory explains the ins and outs of how corporate lobbying policy translates to European policy, parliamentarian Kim van Sparrentak shares her first-hand experience with the lobbying army in Brussels, and we get a little closer to answering the question of whether or not the EU is run by multinationals.