Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Saturday, March 17, 2018 08:13:46 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Transparency needed to tackle corporate takeover

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Myriam Douo :
Governments and public institutions such as the EU exist to make decisions on behalf of and in the interest of the people. At times, that job entails taking decisions and setting standards in the public interest which are opposed by industry. That may sound pretty straightforward, but in practice decision-makers still all too often waver under the pressure of corporate lobbyists.
Dieselgate and its revelation of the hollowed-out EU emissions rules have shown unsettlingly well just how far this can go, with industry driving supposedly independent policy-making in total opposition to the public interest - with devastating consequences.
Car manufacturers spent millions of euros on lobbying and infiltrated official EU expert groups to push for self- and off-road emissions testing; all at the expense of people's health, climate action, and environmental protection.
When corporate interests enjoy such prominent influence in the decision-making process we effectively can talk about corporate capture. But unfortunately, there are many more EU policy areas at high risk of being captured by corporate interests, from key areas of EU regulation like trade, energy and food safety.
This risk is often exacerbated when EU institutions actively seek policy input from businesses, as recently exemplified by the European energy sector.
The Commission's primary provider of 'expertise' on the gas transmission network, for instance, is the European Network for Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) - a group that represents the interests of 45 companies, most of which run national gas distribution systems in EU member states and are subsidiaries of large international oil and gas companies.
ENTSOG is known to defend the legitimacy of gas in our energy mix against any other energy source. Nevertheless, the group holds a privileged position, giving advice right at the heart of the EU's energy policy - a dynamic which has led to the European Commission's excessive support for the gas industry.
The consulting industry has a role to play in informing policies, but it must not be allowed to morph into privileged access for corporate interests or even a prioritisation of private interests over public interest.
This is where transparency comes in. Transparency is crucial in the fight for good governance as it allows journalists, citizens and civil society to scrutinise the relationships between decision-makers and vested interests, and to expose corporate capture when it happens.
Without transparency, a curtain of secrecy descends onto EU decision-making and creates the space for unethical behaviours and undemocratic processes to take root. And yet, transparency cannot be seen as an end in itself; it is much rather a means to expose the risk and the actuality of corporate capture.
Ultimately, the EU needs strong transparency and ethics rules. The three institutions are now discussing what could become a key guard against corporate capture, a revised Transparency Register. To be strong and effective, the revamped lobby register should enable us to know precisely who is lobbying whom, on which topics, with which budget and on whose behalf.
The Commission's recent reform proposal for the register not only lacks in ambition but also suggests to cancel out some of the best elements of the current register, namely its broad definition of lobbying, which covers both direct and indirect influencing activities.
As anyone familiar with the Brussels bubble knows, corporate lobbyists influence EU decision-making in many ways, from sub-contracting work to lobby consultancies to funding think tanks and producing industry-friendly research, as well as meeting directly with officials, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and commissioners.
Come what may, the EU lobby register must be made legally binding. This is the only way to ensure adherence to the rules and to increase the register's currently poor data quality. Until then, a "no registration, no meeting" rule must be adopted by MEPs, permanent representations, and all EU officials.
Transparency is not the final purpose, but it is the first step towards better democratic scrutiny as well as the basis for fighting corporate capture. Only once the extent and leverage of corporate influence is fully known and understood can effective measures be put in place to safeguard public-interest decision-making against the capture by much better-resourced corporate interests.

(Myriam Douo is a campaigner and researcher at the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU). This is the first of a series of opinions on #lobbytransparency).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

We mourn Hawking's death, his vacuum will not filled so soon

STEPHEN Hawking died at Cambridge in England on Monday at the age of 76. A scientific genius who rose to eminence by his work on theoretical physics explaining the system of universe is no more but the scientific world will remember him over the time to come. We join the ...

Entertainment »

Parineeti was forced to take a massage!

It has been a gruelling shooting schedule for Parineeti Chopra, who is currently filming for Namaste England. The actress has been pulling off all day long shoots as she is filming an energetic song sequence with her co-star Arjun Kapoor. `It has been insane for Parineeti. She has been dancing ...

Sports »

Shakib Al Hasan (left) celebrates the dismissal of Danushka Gunathilaka during their second Twenty20 cricket match in Nidahas Trophy in Colombo on Friday.


City »

BNP Chairperson's Adviser Advocate Khondkar Mahbub Hossain, among others, at a roundtable on 'Release of Begum Khaleda Zia and Next Parliament Election' organised by Bangladesh Unmukta Ganotantrik Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Friday.


International »

Abe`s support falls to 39 pc amid scandal doubts

Reuters, Tokyo :Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's support has fallen 9.4 points to 39.3 percent, a survey by Jiji news agency showed, as suspicion swirls over a suspected cover-up linked to cronyism, Abe's worst crisis since taking office.Abe and Finance Minister, Taro Aso, 77, have been under fire since the ...

Editorial »

Myanmar militarising Rakhine State

MYANMAR is militarising Rakhine State at an alarming pace as it is building helipad and camps for security forces bulldozing Rohingya villages. The latest move is not only making security on Bangladesh border highly tense but also making difficult safe and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees even as a more ...

Cricket »

Shakib to play against Sri Lanka today

Sports Reporter :World-class all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will play for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka in the last Robin League match of the Nidahas Trophy Tri-Nation Twenty20 Cricket Series at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo today. Shakib Al Hasan joined Bangladesh squad in Colombo on Thursday. A BCB official said, " ...

Entertainment »

Have been extremely lucky to play varied shades in one show: Aditi Rathore

While one complains of done to death storylines on television shows, there is Naamkaraan that believes in pushing the envelope and bring out new facets in its storyline. With the plot recently going through a leap, the protagonist of the show Aditi Rathore calls herself lucky, as she gets an ...

City »

Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) organises a condolence rally in the city's Segunbagicha area on Thursday in memory of those including DRU Member Ahmed Faisal who were killed in US-Bangla aircraft accident in Nepal.


International »

Syria conflict rages as war enters eighth year

AFP, Beirut  :Syria's lacerating conflict entered its eighth year Thursday with the country riven by international power struggles, as Turkey encircled a besieged northern Kurdish enclave, while Russian-backed regime forces pounded into shrinking rebel areas near Damascus.The bloodshed, which has devastated huge swathes of the country since it started on ...

Editorial »

Tillerson`s sacking was not a surprise yet he deserved respect

TILLERSON'S firing did not come as a surprise, Trump sacks anyone anytime. The cruel fact is that the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson may be fired anytime was well anticipated over three months ago. What's, however, shocking is that Donald Trump shows no sense of respect towards him in not ...

Football »

New York Red Bulls defender Aurelien Collin (front) tries to clear the ball away as Tijuana forward Juan Martin Lucero (center) and defender Damian Perez look on during the second half of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal soccer match on Tuesday in Harrison, N.J. The Red Bulls won 3-1.

Entertainment »

Having more women filmmakers is bringing a change: Lara Dutta

From winning the Miss Universe crown to navigating her way in Bollywood, coming up with a prenatal yoga series and now debuting on television, Lara Dutta Bhupathi has enjoyed various roles in showbiz. She says with increasing participation of women behind the cameras, there's a change visible in the entertainment ...

International »

First US woman to lead CIA

AFP, Washington :Gina Haspel, nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the CIA, is a black ops veteran who once ran a secret interrogation operation in Thailand accused of torturing detainees.If approved by the Senate, Haspel would be the first woman ever to run the Central Intelligence Agency.Despite a controversial ...

Entertainment »

Nawazuddin opens up about films and marriage in a recent interview!

Nawazuddin Siddiqui was recently interviewed by Anupama Chopra from Film Companion regarding his new book 'An Ordinary Life: A Memoir', in which he stated that he was inspired to be an actor by watching Shatrughan Sinha and about how his journey as an actor turned out to be extraordinary with ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news