British government refuses to answer information requests on secret EU meetings with lobbyists

meetings with lobbyists trumps citizen interest groups 4 to 1

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) has been investigating EU member state permanent representations, finding out to what extent they are a target of lobbying. This article takes certain extracts from that report to focus on Britain’s response to requests for information – the results should raise an eyebrow. This report also provides an insight into the secrecy of British government actions within the EU and casts doubt over government integrity, particularly when taking negotiations of TTIP into consideration where the EU Commission, met corporate lobby groups in 88 percent of 597 meetings.

The member state permanent representations, like the Council and the European Council, are not party to the EU lobby transparency rules. In fact, the Council has consistently emphasised that member states’ governments, including their permanent representations in Brussels, should not be covered by EU transparency regulations.

However, as the EU media outlet Politico, recently wrote, “Most lobbyists we speak to agree that permanent representations are a soft touch: All you need is the right policy officer and you can come into close contact with the policy formulation at its most influential stage. This is how you get policy input into the Council of Ministers and it’s considerably cheaper than having to deal with member states in capital cities.”

The only two countries who completely refused access to information despite holding the information requested was Malta and Britain.

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