Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) 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.
The corporate capture of EU decision-making leads to policies that exacerbate social injustice, economic inequality, climate change and environmental destruction. From the negotiation of new free trade agreements, to false solutions to global warming, and attacks on the regulation of toxic chemicals, EU decisions and policies frequently reflect the interests of big business.
Corporate lobbies like to act in secrecy, so we expose what they do, increase public awareness, and build momentum to curb corporate influence over EU policy-making by:
While we extend the scope of our work as much as possible to include new issues of high relevance for the public interest (the link between corporate lobbying and the rise of the far right in Europe, municipalism, conflicts of interests around oligarchs receiving EU funding, plastic pollution, digital rights, repressive regimes, …), we have particular expertise in the following EU policy areas:
We expose the biotech, food, chemicals, agrofuels and pesticide producers and their lobby groups which target decision makers to weaken regulation of their activities. We campaign to make the EU body evaluating the safety of all food products in the EU (EFSA) independent from the food industry.
We reveal the corporate capture of EU and international climate policy-making and show how corporate lobbying has resulted in weak greenhouse gas reduction targets and measures, the dominance of carbon markets and other false solutions such as agrofuels, “low-carbon” fossil fuels like gas, nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
We highlight the many gaps in and shortcomings of EU lobby transparency tools and underline how they must be addressed in order to curb corporate influence over policy-making and improve public scrutiny of EU decisions and the accountability of Members of the European Parliament, politicians and desk staff at the European Commission, member state representatives at the Council of the EU and all affiliated EU bodies.
We uncover and challenge out the corporate bias of and secrecy around neoliberal EU trade deals like the Canada-EU free trade agreement (CETA) and the investor privileges and parallel legal system established by the investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS), both of which threaten social and environmental justice and enshrine corporate power.
We expose the great leverage of banking and other financial industry lobbies, the failure of the EU to better regulate the sector since the financial crisis, and the extend to which big banks continue to set the agenda.
Please also take a look at our guide on the corporate lobby scene in Brussels: The ‘Brussels Lobby Planet’ is available in English, French and German, and provides a thorough and thought-provoking introduction to corporate lobbying and its impact on the EU’s ability to pass policies in the public interest.