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Call for stricter lobby rules after Dalli scandal

05 November 2012
by altereu -- last modified 05 November 2012

Civil society groups have today written to the European Commission President urging him to end the secrecy around the resignation of the former Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli.


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Campaign groups in the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) call on President Barroso to introduce stricter transparency and ethics rules to curb the privileged access of lobbyists to EU decision-making.

Their letter comes ahead of a meeting between José Manuel Barroso and the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament. It follows the scandal which erupted following the resignation of Commissioner Dalli, the confusion surrounding the conditions of the resignation, and alleged attempts at undue influence by the tobacco industry.

Olivier Hoedeman from Corporate Europe Observatory, an ALTER-EU member group, said: "The Commission must end its secrecy around this lobby scandal. Whether this is a lobbyist selling influence-for-cash, a tobacco industry set-up to delay and weaken legislation, or a combination of both, it is clear that the current EU rules around Commissioners' contact with lobbyists are inadequate."

Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe and member of ALTER-EU's steering committee added: "Consultants offering clients access to high level decision-makers for money is unfortunately common practice in Brussels. We have still not had a satisfactory explanation of Mr Dalli's resignation. Contact with private lobbyists is not normally a reason for Commissioners to have to resign. The Commission needs to come clean and give the real reasons why Dalli had to step down."

The ALTER-EU coalition demands an overhaul of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, a high-quality, mandatory lobbying transparency register and pro-active transparency on Commission meetings with lobbyists.

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) is a coalition of over 160 civil society groups, trade unions, academics and public affairs firms concerned with the increasing influence exerted by corporate lobbyists on the political agenda in Europe, the resulting loss of democracy in EU decision-making and the postponement, weakening, or blockage even, of urgently needed progress on social, environmental and consumer-protection reforms.

Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU)
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