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Lobbyists

In Eurospeak a lobbyist is defined as anyone who tries to influence the Union’s lawmakers, and Brussels is crawling with them – estimates range from 25,000 to 30,000. Some lobbyists work for large multinational companies eager to minimise EU red tape; others work for non-governmental groups, many of them keen to see introduced precisely the kind of restraints on industry that the big-business lobbyists want to avoid. In 1996 the European Parliament, stung by repeated criticisms that its members were particularly susceptible to pressure from lobbyists, adopted a code of conduct and made access to its buildings conditional on their signing up to it. In 2007, the EU’s Administration, Audit and Anti-Fraud Commissioner Siim Kallas launched his “European Transparency Initiative” proposing a register of lobbyists’ interests, including limited financial disclosure. This was implemented in 2008 on a voluntary basis, and mandatory in 2014. The Parliament and the Commission consistently listen which lobbyists have input into discussions on its reports.