Newsletter - 1 - campaign updates, Austrian Chamber of Labour, Fondation Sciences Citoyennes

Publication date: 
jeudi, January 13, 2011
  • The Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK) and ALTER-EU
  • Fondation Sciences Citoyennes (FSC) and ALTER-EU (English and French version)
Executive summary / policy recommendations: 

New members

We asked the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour and the Fondation Sciences Citoyennes why they joined ALTER-EU, how they see their role in relation to other members, and what their experience is of 'corporate secrecy', 'priviledged access' and 'excessive industry influence' in their work at the national and European levels. Here's what they answered.

Arbeiterkammer (AK): a proud supporter of ALTER-EU

 The Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer AK) is by law representing 3.2 million employees and consumers in Austria. It acts for the interests of its members in fields of social, educational, economic and consumer issues, both on the national and on the EU-level in Brussels. AK EUROPA, the Brussels office of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour, was established in 1991 to bring forward the interests of all its members directly vis-à-vis the European Institutions.

 The Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour strongly supports the relentless and consistent work of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) towards the establishment of clear-cut legal provisions for lobby transparency and ethics regulation. AK, together with the more than 160 public interest groups, trade unions, academics and public affairs firms that make up ALTER-EU, clearly shares the concern that corporate and financial lobbyists have gained a level of influence within EU decision-making that threatens to undermine the foundations of democracy in Europe.

 Since the beginning of our work in Brussels, AK has witnessed the weakening or blocking of attempts to promote social, environmental and consumer-protection reforms on multiple occasions. The financial crisis is the climax of a development that has put the interests of highly organized industry interests with deep pockets before the overarching interests of working people. Deregulation ideology, industry self-regulation, and one-sided “expert” advice from industry advisory groups have for many years been promoted by the European Commission and certain Member States.

 It is the merit of ALTER-EU and its member organizations to have put their finger in this wound. By publishing essential and well-founded research on the entanglement between EU policy making and business interests, ALTER-EU has made important contributions that will help to shed more light on previously opaque areas. The ALTER-EU alliance thereby lives up to its commitment to fight for more transparent and democratic decision processes, helping to bridge the growing gap between EU citizens and parts of the decision-making machinery.

 The Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer AK) therefore wholeheartedly supports the ALTER-EU demands to set high and enforceable minimum requirements for lobby transparency and ethics regulation: by implementing strong EU lobbying disclosure legislation, enforceable ethics rules for lobbyists, as well as an improved code of conduct for European Commission officials.

 2011 will be a critical year for the ALTER-EU coalition and its battle for its goals. AK will be a strong partner and offer its support wherever needed. The European project is too important to be left to the interests of the few who can afford to make their voice heard.

Fondation Sciences Citoyennes


‘Fondation Sciences Citoyennes’ (FSC) has been working since 2002 to enable and facilitate the appropriation of science by citizens  to serve the common good. To do this, it strives to develop civil society expertise and research capabilities by supporting an independent scientific sector, to stimulate the freedom of expression, and democratic promotion of technical and scientific decisions.

Lobbying and conflict of interest crop up on a daily basis as the main obstacles to achieving our aims.. That is why the FSC  is a founding member of the ETAL network, one of the ALTER-EU member groups. Through direct membership of ALTER-EU we hope to be better informed and more involved in European struggles.

Besides our research efforts and analysis of the nature of techno-science, its evolution, and public resistance, we focus on  number of  issues including: health and environment, agriculture, nanotechnologies and pharmaceutical industries. From a strategic point of view, we consider that attempting to compete with corporate lobbyists, through our own lobbying is immoral, and wrong. We only want to act transparently, without assuming a definition of the  ‘common good’, which is why we have tabled a legislative proposal to gather the informed opinion of citizens, thanks to the improvement of the 'citizens conferences' procedure. (

We do not accept the ‘industrial secrecy’ argument used by advocates of technologies to hide risks from decision-makers and the general public. In order to roll back the excessive influence of industrialists on techno-scientific choices, we want to see a reform of expertise that would define its ethics and guarantee its respectability, while at the same time protecting whistle blowers. (


L’ association pour une fondation sciences citoyennes (FSC) œuvre depuis 2002 pour  favoriser l’appropriation de la science par les citoyens afin de la mettre au service du bien commun. Pour cela elle cherche à accroître les capacités de recherche et d’expertise par la société en favorisant un tiers secteur  scientifique, à stimuler la liberté d’expression et la promotion démocratique des choix scientifiques et techniques.

Dans toutes ces directions et projets, le lobbying et les conflits d’intérêts apparaissent au jour le jour comme les principaux obstacles.C’est pourquoi la FSC est membre fondateur du réseau ETAL, correspondant français d’alter-EU. Notre adhésion directe à Alter-EU vise à être mieux informés et impliqués dans les combats européens.

Outre nos recherches et analyses sur la nature de la technoscience,  son évolution, et les résistances de la société, nous pouvons apporter des élaborations plus spécifiques sur plusieurs thèmes dont santé et environnement , agriculture, nanotechnologies et  industrie pharmaceutique. D’un point de vue stratégique nous pensons erroné autant qu’immoral de prétendre concurrencer les lobbies par notre propre lobbyisme et ne voulons agir que dans la transparence, sans prétention à définir nous-mêmes le « bien commun ». C’est pourquoi nous proposons un texte de loi pour recueillir l’avis informé des citoyens grâce à l’amélioration de la procédure des conférences de citoyens ( )

Nous sommes opposés à l’argument du « secret industriel » avancé par les promoteurs de technologies pour cacher des risques aux yeux des décideurs et de la population. Afin de contenir l’influence excessive des industriels dans les choix technoscientifiques nous proposons une réforme de l’expertise qui  définirait sa déontologie et la ferait respecter en même temps qu’elle protégerait les lanceurs d‘alerte (

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