Public voting for the ‘Worst EU Lobbying Awards’ opened online on Monday (15 October). The award will be given to the lobby group that in 2007 has employed “the most deceptive, misleading or otherwise problematic lobbying tactics in their attempts to influence EU decision-making”.
The event, entering its third year, is jointly organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, Lobby Control and Spinwatch, and asks the public to identify what they consider to be “the worst examples of corporate lobbying in the EU”.
Nominees and their alleged misdemeanours include several German car manufacturers for their attempts to “water down and delay” EU mandatory targets for C02 emissions from cars, and the European Public Affairs Consultancies Association (EPACA) for campaigning against Commission plans for a lobby transparency register (see EURACTIV 10/10/07).
This year’s event features a new category, ‘Worst Greenwash’, for the company whose advertising is “most at odds with the real environmental impact of its business activities”. Nominees include Airbus, Shell, BAE Systems, ExxonMobil and the German Atomic Forum.
Olivier Hoedeman from Corporate Europe Observatory said “the cases show that lobbyists employ heavy-handed and deceptive tactics if their core business is at stake”, and called for “effective transparency regulations that allow the public and decision makers to see who is lobbying whom on whose behalf and for how much money”.
Describing the awards as “interesting”, a Commission official nevertheless warned that it was important to remember who the organisers are, saying that “these groups are lobbyists themselves”.
However, he welcomed the fact that these groups were drawing attention to the issue of lobbying: “The views of every interest group are useful”, he added.
Voting closes on 24 November, and the ‘winners’ will be announced on December 4th at a ceremony in Brussels.