Democracy & Justice

Speechbag Podcast E09: The Secret Meetings, Lobbying, and 'Horse Trading' of EU Lawmaking

The EU may be a beacon of democracy, but its laws are still being finalized in secretive meetings that are closed to the public. But they’re not closed to lobbyists, meaning Big Tech and others have the last word.

by LibertiesEU

Why are EU laws still agreed upon in secretive meetings shut off from the public?

The Speechbag podcast spoke with European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly to discuss the lack of transparency around the trilogue process, when representatives of the EU Commission, Parliament, and Council meet to finalize the texts of our laws. Getting even the most basic information, like who attends the meetings and what their official positions are on a draft law, can be difficult – if not impossible – for the public.

“Decisions are being made without [citizens’] input,” Ombudsman O’Reilly told Speechbag. “It feeds into an anti-EU, hostile, Eurosceptic mindset.”

But guess who’s not shut out of the process? Lobbyists. Max Bank, a researcher and campaigner with the German organization LobbyControl, spoke to Speechbag about the extent to which lobbyists can influence laws and distort the democratic process.

He says there are currently some 36,000 lobbyists working in Brussels, backed by a yearly budget of 97 million euros. All of this means that it’s the wishes of corporations, not citizens, that are often given priority when EU laws are finalized.

Check out the latest episode of the Speechbag podcast to see how the laws Europeans live under are created out of view from them, and how Big Tech and other corporate interests get the last word.

Previously on Speechbag:

Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8

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