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    EU Lobbyists Equal Number of Brussels Penpushers - Transparency International

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    As an investigation gets underway over former EU Chief Barroso's role as lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, campaign group Transparency International has revealed there are nearly 40,000 lobbyists working in Brussels - roughly the same as the total of EU employees.

    There was an outcry when former President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, was appointed non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International (GSI) at a chief lobbyist only 20 months after leaving office. 

    It highlighted the increasingly bitter debate over the amount of lobbying going on in Brussels behind closed doors — epitomized by the secretive nature of the Transatlantic Trade and Investments Partnership (TTIP), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations.

    Transparency International's analysis of EU lobbying shows that there are 37,350 lobbyists involved in Brussels, 26,480 of which held at least one lobby pass for the parliament or had access to high level meetings.

    ​According to the EU itself, around 33,000 people are employed by the European Commission, 6,000 in the European Parliament and around 3,500 people work in the general secretariat — a total of 45,500, meaning that the ratio of lobbyists to EU bureaucrats is nearing one-to-one.

    The lobbying situation is made worse when looking at the 9,860 organizations currently registered on the voluntary EU lobby register, which declare a total of 91,251 people involved in their lobbying activities towards the EU institutions — twice the number of EU employees. However, Transparency International says the lobby register is not an accurate guide to the real picture, given its voluntary nature.

    Influence

    According to Transparency International, the US$1.6 billion industry of Brussels lobbyists involves over 7,000 meetings in the last year alone with high-level Commission officials. With 75% of the total, meetings with corporate lobbyists dominate the Commission's agenda and tech, finance and energy companies take the lead.

    ​Daniel Freund from Transparency International EU in his latest blog said:

    "Based on these findings, a conservative estimate for the number of Brussels lobbyists is 25,000 with a further 10-15,000 lobbyists across Europe that occasionally influence decisions in Brussels as well."

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    Tags:
    political agenda, trade agreements, TTIP, lobbying, European Commission, European Parliament, European Council, Transparency International, European Union, Jose Manuel Barroso, Europe, Brussels
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