Report on Lobbies in Europe
© 2008 - Ben Heine
Brussels on the ground:
European Bubble

Interview's excerpts of Yiorgos Vassalos,
Lorenzo Morselli and Thomas Huddleston
By Marco Riciputi *
(Translation by Annika Thornton)

The image of the lobbyist is a part of the Brussels political landscape. These groups work in the spotlight, but also have a consulting role in the legislative process. Is this mature democracy or a skills deficit in Europe?

«There is relative transparency inside the bubble, points out the young American. You know the person, the donors, the different position - everyone understands each other really well.» Tom Huddleston, Policy Analyst.
Yiorgos Vassalos, Corporate Europe Observatory

« It is clear that most of the experts come from governments. There is industry participation in 32% of all expert groups. We are aware of many examples where industry representatives are more than the half of the members of an Expert Group and this is on very controversial and critical issues such as textile, biotechnology and climate change. In this cases, the European Commission is formulating policies based almost wholly on the advice of those stakeholders who have a direct commercial interest The lack of transparency prevent us from knowing how many such cases exist. »

Lorenzo Morselli, Parliamentary assistant

« Without the lobbyists we couldn’t even legislate. You are not slaves to those guys. You know they represent someone, they have particular interests, you know what they might try to do when they give you their arguments. »

Tom Huddleston, Policy Analyst

« Lobby would not disappear if we became more democratic. But if I had more trust in the elected officials, then I don’t mind if the elected official gets opinions from different organizations. »


* Marco Riciputi is an Italian journalist, I met him, last summer in Brussels. I made fast portraits of Yiorgos Vassalos, Lorenzo Morselli and Thomas Huddleston in a café while Marco was interviewing them for CafeBabel. It was a very interesting collaboration.

--> This report appeared on CafeBabel and on Linea