EU and others Conceal Lobbyist Meetings

Mr. Juncker’s henchman, Mr. Selmayr, has been removed from his position as Secretary-General of the European Commission. The free and independent media has now asked for his meeting records under the Freedom of Information legislation, but very little was received because it appears that he did not keep records of who he met with and what was discussed!

Politico described his appointment as follows: “The procedure by which Selmayr and his boss, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, engineered his transfer from chief of Juncker’s Cabinet to head of the entire Commission secretariat was an act of such chicanery and skulduggery that it stains the record of the entire Commission.”

According to the EU Observer, Mr. Selmayr did not keep records of his meetings with lobbyists – it is estimated that he held at least 21 meetings with organisations, companies, and think tanks during the 16 months he held this high office!

The EU’s Justice Affairs Commissioner also does not have minutes of her meetings with Facebook and Google, she said, “I don’t know why we didn’t record what we spoke about, and I would wish to have such reports.”

Given that the EU has 28 nations as members, it is strange that the discussions of these meetings are not recorded and distributed automatically to all member states because they are surely of great significance for them!

On the other hand, none of the Nordic countries, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway have set up lobbyist registers, which is also rather surprising given that all 4 countries like to bask in the light of having transparent government and the lowest levels of corruption.

… seeing that Finland is full of big oligopolistic companies in retail, banking, insurance, pensions, forestry, media, dairy, construction, healthcare, etc., there is plenty to be concerned about, especially when we know that the big political parties have strong connections to a number of  these companies…

A new report was ordered in 2018 by the last Finnish government from the University of Eastern Finland that threw some light on this topic. The report took a look at lobbyist registers in the UK, Ireland, Austria and the USA as well as the OECD recommendations.

One wonders whether the absence of lobbyist registers is evidence that lobbyists and their targets prefer to hide their meetings, or are we to believe that we do not need lobbyist registers because transparency is not needed and there is nothing to conceal? In any event it is clear that none of the Nordic countries, nor the EU, have taken any steps to implement OECD’s recommendations!

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