Brussels: a lobbying paradise

Publication date: 
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Will Dinan, Erik Wesselius
Media title: 

In the last 30 years, thousands of lobbyists have flocked to Brussels, drawn by the increasing importance of EU-level decision making. With over 15,000 lobbyists influencing the EU institutions, Brussels vies with Washington for the title of lobbying capital of the world.


The vast majority of Brussels lobbyists work on behalf of business interests. Citizens’ groups and public-interest lobbies, on the other hand, are surprisingly thin on the ground. One estimate suggests that corporate lobbyists outnumber public-interest groups by a factor of five to one. Corporate lobbyists also have much more money at their disposal. While public-interest lobbies can benefit from the positive reputation of their organisations and the commitment of their staff, they are generally fighting an uphill battle. The uneven playing field between those lobbying for commercial interests versus the defenders of wider public interests is further skewed by the privileged access to decision makers that big business lobbyists enjoy. As a result, EU directives, regulations and other policy initiatives are often reflecting the predominance of corporate influence.

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