Declared lobbyists: 30 FTE
Lobby spend: €4m – €4.25m (2016)
BusinessEurope is the most significant corporate lobby group in the EU, its policy papers routinely ending up as eerily similar-sounding EU official negotiating positions and directives. This behemoth of the Brussels lobby scene is dominated by the interests of major transnational corporations.
It represents 40 national business organisations, as well as companies like British American Tobacco, BMW, BP, ExxonMobil, Facebook, Microsoft, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Shell and Total. BusinessEurope lobbyists can expect regular meetings and exclusive briefings on Commission policy.
BusinessEurope flexes its lobby muscles in everything from watering down chemicals regulation, to making the EU’s Emission Trading System work to subsidise industry, to designing an EU trade strategy (including many features of TTIP) to suit major global companies.
Indeed, the association has had a major influence on numerous EU directives and regulations for decades, key examples being the EU’s austerity-driven ‘Economic Governance’ reforms developed in the aftermath of the 2008 crash and the so-called ‘Better Regulation’ agenda) that allows business to demand EU regulations be reviewed or removed, no matter if they protect the environment, health or workers. An important date in the lobby calendar is an annual Autumn pow-wow at the Berlaymont where Commissioners and BusinessEurope bigwigs meet for exchanges on strategy and the overall direction of the EU. The total annual lobby spend of the 26 organisations that attended the 2016 event amounted to at least €31,789,000.
Moreover, these organisations had already held a staggering 588 lobby meetings with top Commission officials between December 2014 and late 2016.