Despite strict guidelines and the revitalized EU Transparency Register, a who’s-who list of lobbyists accredited with the European Commission, several loopholes continue to allow business and interest groups close access to Commission officials. By hiring attorneys instead of registered lobbyists and wooing junior officials rather than their bosses, interest groups can keep their meetings discreet while successfully influencing key legislation. If all else fails, increasing the lobbying budget doesn’t hurt either: between 2013 and 2014, Goldman Sachs reported a 14-fold increase in lobbying expenses in Brussels after the new transparency rules took effect.
Taxi competitor Uber has filed a series of new complaints with the European Commission in response to legal battles with member states over their bans on the popular smartphone-based service, which is valued at $40 billion. In addition to two earlier complaints against France, Uber filed a complaint against Spain on Monday and another against Germany on Wednesday.
By Jared Angle
BRUSSELS — American and European trade officials met with interest group representatives to discuss potential outcomes of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in a panel discussion at the European Parliament on Nov. 18.
Hosted by the EP’s centre-left Socialists and Democrats bloc and the International Trade committee, the panel brought Deputy US Trade Representative Michael Punke and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström together with experts from European and American consumer protection and labor rights groups.
Projected tariff reductions under TTIP will allow companies to pass savings onto consumers and will allow new companies to begin exporting to international markets, according to Malmström.
“We will deliver a TTIP that is good for consumers; not bad, not ugly,” Malmström said.
Members of the European Parliament, led by the Committee on International Trade, questioned Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (ALDE, Sweden) on her ability to serve as the EU’s 15th trade commissioner during a two-and-a-half hour hearing on Sept. 29.
Malmström, 46, currently holds the Commission’s Home Affairs portfolio, and is expected to begin her second term in the Commission on Nov. 1.
By Jared Angle
American and European trade representatives will meet next week for a seventh round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a prospective free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union.
The negotiations, which will take place outside Washington, are scheduled to last from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, according to the European Commission.
The US is the EU’s largest trading partner; in 2011, the EU exported €250 billion in goods and services to the US and imported €187 billion. With the tariff reductions and other market liberalization features in a prospective TTIP agreement, trade volume and job growth would increase significantly for both economies.