Spotlight falls on EU's worst lobbyists - and MEPs and officials with conflicts of interests

20 October 2008

Brussels, Monday 20 October - Business lobby groups, MEPs and Commission officials are all under scrutiny in the shortlist for this year's Worst EU Lobbying Awards, published today (Monday 20th October).

Members of the public are now invited to vote for the most deceptive lobbying and the most biased decision-makers at to select the Worst EU Lobby of 2008 and the Worst Conflict of Interest 2008.

Five candidates in each category have been short-listed for the awards, following online nominations made earlier this year.

In the category for the Worst EU Lobbying Award [1], the five candidates are:

- The agrofuels lobby (including MPOC, Unica and Abengoa) - nominated for their misleading campaigns to promote agrofuels as green

- The European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines (EAASM) nominated for hiding the involvement of big pharma corporations in their campaigns

- The European Business and Parliament Scheme - nominated for abusing their location and lobbying from inside Parliament offices

- Brussels-based lobbying and PR agencies Gplus and Aspect Consulting are nominated for supporting the spread of war propaganda in the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia.

- The International Air Transport Association (IATA) - nominated for its deceptive lobbying campaign to avoid CO2 reduction obligations for aviation.

In the category for the Worst Conflict of Interest [2], the five candidates are:

- Dr Caroline Jackson MEP - nominated for her twin roles as an elected representative dealing with environmental issues and as an appointed environmental advisor to a private waste management company, Shanks.

- Piia-Noora Kauppi MEP - nominated for abusing her role as an MEP by promoting the interests of her future employer, a big banking lobby group

- Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP - nominated for his dual role as an MEP and lawyer for EU competition and regulatory issues, and for using his position as an MEP to allow lawyers to lobby in the dark.

Ex-European Commission officials Petite, Klotz and Kjølbye - nominated for going through the revolving door to law firms lobbying for industry clients

- DG Trade Director Fritz-Harald Wenig - nominated for revealing inside information on trade tariffs to "lobbyists" who were in fact journalists working under cover.

Full details of the nominations are available at

The Worst EU Lobbying Awards put the spotlight on the behind the scenes' activities of lobbyists which influence European decision making. They highlight some of the controversial lobbying practices being practised by some of the thousands of corporate lobbyists roaming the corridors of power inside the EU.

The Worst Conflict of Interest award was introduced this year to highlight the need for European Institutions to clean up their own activities - there have been a number of cases of conflict of interest in recent years, but little action has been taken to prevent such cases from occurring. The nominations show the need for stronger ethics rules for the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The awards also take place against the backdrop of the European Commission's failed attempt to make lobbyists' activities more transparent with the launch of a voluntary online register. More than three months after the register was launched, 430 lobbying bodies have registered - a tiny proportion of the total number of lobbying organisations operating in Brussels [3].

The register has failed to shed the necessary light on lobby campaigns or lobby firms - as demonstrated by some of the nominations for this year's awards.

Voting for the Worst EU Lobbying Awards closes on Sunday 30th November and the winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Brussels on Tuesday 9th December, with the results also published online.

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



[1] The award for Worst EU Lobbying goes to the lobbying campaign which is voted to have relied on deception, misleading information, inappropriate favours or other improper lobbying tactics to influence decision making within the EU.

[2] The award for Worst Conflict of Interest goes to 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 among voters about their ability to act impartially and in the public interest.

[3] See and