We aim to:
- Increase awareness about lobbying influence in the EU
- Expose privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups
- Campaign for transparency around lobbying. See below.
In short, we want to know who is trying to gain influence on EU politics, with what budget, on which issues and on whose behalf.
With these objectives in mind, we have created LobbyFacts. LobbyFacts should make it easier to understand and use the existing data on EU lobbying; make it possible to compare, order and analyse data; help anyone who wants to track lobbyists and their influence at the EU level (journalists, activists, decision-makers and citizens); and expose the inaccuracies and lack of information in the current register.
LobbyFacts uses the data available on the EU's Transparency Register. Whilst this register has many flaws and loopholes, it is the only official source of information about which organisations lobby the EU institutions, how many lobbyists they hire, how much they spend on these activities, which issues they try to influence, etc. LobbyFacts digests and analyses all this data to make it easier to extract interesting information. Please check our disclaimer.
Who are the biggest spenders on lobbying? How many lobbyists work for consultancies in Brussels? Is there a balance between those representing businesses and those representing other interests? Who has long-term access to the European Parliament? LobbyFacts will help you answer these kinds of questions.
The LobbyFacts organisers believe that there needs to be substantial reform of the EU lobby transparency rules.
Lobby transparency reveals the lobby pressures on decision-makers and can help to ensure that they listen to a variety of views when making policy; transparency can illustrate lobbying imbalances in terms of staff numbers and spending power; and it can substantially reduce unethical or unscrupulous lobbying. Ultimately, lobby transparency should lead to better public policy-making.
In particular, we demand that:
The current imperfect voluntary EU lobby register becomes mandatory
Until this time, the European Commission and Parliament should introduce meaningful incentives to encourage registration and to reduce the numbers of law firms and others who currently boycott the register
The EU lobby register is extended beyond the Commission and Parliament to cover the European Council too
More effort is made to tackle the inaccuracies in the data contained in the current lobby register
All EU institutions introduce measures to boost proactive transparency, including publishing on-line, real-time lists of all meetings held with lobbyists
We work together as part of ALTER-EU, the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation and its Full lobby transparency now! campaign to demand urgent reform to boost EU lobby transparency.
LobbyFacts is work in progress and we need your help to refine it further. Please get in touch if you have technical skills, ideas for additional features or improvements, or are able to offer funding to help us to progress this exciting project!