Europe's lobbyists under the spotlight as nominations open for Worst EU Lobbying Awards

9 July 2008

Nominations are now open for the Worst EU Lobbying Awards 2008, which this year includes a new category for the Worst Conflict of Interest in the EU.

The Worst EU Lobbying Awards are an important feature on the Brussels' calendar, putting the spotlight on the activities of lobbyists behind closed doors which ultimately undermine democratic decision-making.

The 2008 edition of the Worst EU Lobbying Awards takes place against the backdrop of the European Commission's failed attempt to make lobbyists' activities more transparent. In June this year, the Commission asked lobbyists to register and to explain who they work for, and how much money is involved. But the new lobbying register is voluntary and does not require any meaningful financial information.

Christine Pohl from Friends of the Earth Europe and one of the organisers of the Worst EU Lobbying Awards 2008, said: "The Commission's new lobbying register allows lobbying to continue as usual, without effective public scrutiny. By putting some of this year's worst examples of EU lobbying under the spotlight, we want to discourage such practices and foster transparency and democracy."

Nominations for the category of Worst EU Lobbying Award can be made for any lobbying campaign which relies on deception, misleading information, inappropriate favours or other improper lobbying tactics to influence decision making within the EU.

A new category for the Worst Conflict of Interest will also be awarded this year, with nominations sought for the MEP, European Commissioner or other member of EU staff whose background, other jobs or liaisons with special interest lobbyists raise the most serious concerns about their ability to act impartially and in the public interest.

Nominations can be submitted online at www.worstlobby.eu/2008 until Friday 12th September 2008. Voting opens online on Wednesday 15th October and closes on 27th November ahead of the final count. The Awards Ceremony will take place in Brussels in the second week of December.

The Worst EU Lobbying Awards is organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, LobbyControl and Spinwatch.
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Notes:

Last year, BMW, Daimler and Porsche won the Worst EU Lobbying Award 2007 for their lobby campaign full of misinformation and scaremongering to water down CO2-emission targets. The German Atomic Forum received a special prize for "Worst EU Greenwash" for its campaign "Germany's unloved climate protectionists" trying to
greenwash the image of nuclear power plants. See: www.worstlobby.eu