Click here for an overview of the debate in the media
9 November 2005 - The European Commission approves the "Communication proposing the launch of a European Transparency Initative". Read also the ALTER-EU press release: "Campaigners call for concrete measures to end lobbying secrecy".
October 2005 - The European Public Affairs Consultancies Association (EPACA) publishes a letter in Public Affairs News outlining its views on the debate over EU lobbying and the absence of transparency rules: "Europe: Kallas' Intentions". "Where is the real issue?", EPACA asks. "The general absence of substantive concerns or scandals about unethical lobbying is striking" and self-regulation by lobbying consultants works well, EPACA argues. The letter, written by ten directors of Brussels-based lobbying firms (including Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller), accuses CEO of "significant distortions of the truth" and states that "there is a major problem of honesty among NGOs which requires EU regulation". Read CEO's response published in the forthcoming issue of Public Affairs News.
14 July 2005 -- A new report by Health Action International (HAI) Europe reveals how privileged access to European Union (EU) fora has been accorded to the European Patients' Forum despite its links to the pharmaceutical industry being couched in secrecy. Click here to read the report "Does the European Patients' Forum represent patient or industry interests? A case study in the need for mandatory financial disclosure."
28 June 2005 -- CEO and LobbyControl have written to Commissioner Kallas to alert him of the latest example of a misleading lobbying campaign run by a public relations firm: the 'Campaign for Creativity', which lobbies to make Members of the European Parliament vote for software patents. The growing number of bogus NGOs and dubious 'grassroots' coalitions established by public affairs firms on behalf of industry clients proves the urgent need for mandatory lobbying disclosure and ethics rules. See also "Some background on the EU software patents directive" and "The lobbying battle over the EU software patents directive"
18 May 2005 -- Over 75 civil society groups from around Europe have already signed on to the call for "Ending corporate privileges and secrecy around lobbying in the European Union", the founding statement of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU). The groups welcome the 'European Transparency Initiative' (ETI), launched in March 2005 by European Commissioner Siim Kallas, but stress that the ETI must include a mandatory system for lobbying disclosure in order to enable democratic scrutiny of inputs into EU policy-making.
22 April 2005 -- While interest groups representing professional lobbyists in Brussels have reacted either outright hostile (SEAP) or 'welcomed' the European Transparency Initiative while promoting their own voluntary registers and codes of conduct (EUlobby.net), many civil society groups have expressed strong support for the ETI, stressing the need for mandatory lobbying disclosure rules. An example is this letter to Commissioner Kallas from Health Action International (HAI) Europe.
17 March 2005 -- in a letter to CEO, the European Public Affairs Consultancies Association (EPACA) rejects our request for transparency around public affairs consultancies and lobbying towards the EU chemicals review (REACH). EPACA states that there is "a legitimate discussion to be had about the appropriate levels of disclosure and registration by all interest groups" and announces that it will contribute to the dialogue around the European Commission's 'European Transparency Initiative'.
3 March 2005 -- European Commissioner Siim Kallas makes the case for EU lobbying disclosure rules as part of new ‘European Transparency Initiative’.
28 February 2005 -- CEO's Erik Wesselius and Olivier Hoedeman meet with European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas (responsible for Administrative Affairs) to discuss options for EU lobbying regulation.
2 February 2005 -- European Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström (responsible for Institutional Reform) responds to the Open Letter on lobbying regulation.
18 January 2005 -- CEO forwards the Open Letter to European Commissioner Peter Mandelson and to the two European Commission Vice-Presidents Margot Wallström and Siim Kallas. In the letters to the Commissioners (responsible for respectively International Trade, Institutional Reform and Administrative Affairs), CEO argues that the absence of transparency obligations around lobbying is a serious obstacle to effective democratic scrutiny of EU decision-making.
17 November 2004 -- Jens Nymand-Christensen from the European Commission's department for 'relations with civil society' replies to the Open Letter to Mr. Barroso, claiming that there is no need for changing the status quo concerning lobbying in Brussels.
16 November 2004 -- CEO publishes a detailed reaction to the statement of EUlobby, restating the case for binding rules on transparency and ethics for lobbyists in Brussels.
12 November 2004 -- In a statement published on the EUlobby.net website, Mr. De Fouloy argues that there is no need for EU legislation to achieve transparency on lobbying in Brussels and that the voluntary register at the EULobby website constitutes "a practical step forward toward increased transparency, openness and accountability." Read the full EUlobby statement.
12 November 2004 -- Corporate Europe Observatory reacts to the EUlobby e-mail: "Calls for voluntary systems of registration, providing a semblance of transparency, are a common strategy of the PR and lobbying profession, to avoid the introduction of compulsory registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists -- the key demand of the Open Letter to Mr. Barroso." Read more.
26 October 2004 -- In a quick reaction to the Open Letter, the Society of European Affairs Professionals SEAP, argues that its own voluntary Code of Conduct for Lobbyists is sufficient and that there is no need for EU legislation on lobbying transparency and ethics.
25 October 2004 -- Open Letter sent to Mr. Barroso