Commission flaunts close ties to old-think industry

28 January 2014

Friends of the Earth Europe has today criticized the close public ties between the European Commission and big business, as senior EU representatives were out in force for a conference of lobby group BusinessEurope.

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso gave the opening speech at the BusinessEurope 'Industry Matters' event dedicated to industrial policy, energy and trade. Commissioners de Gucht, Tajani and Oettinger are also giving keynote speeches at the event.

BusinessEurope is one of the most prominent lobby groups in the EU, and has a record of trying to delay and dilute meaningful action on climate change.

Brook Riley, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "So far BusinessEurope seems to be getting exactly what it wants from the Commission: a dangerously weak 2030 climate and energy package and a trade deal with the US which risks watering down democratically agreed environmental safeguards.

"Today's public display of close ties to vested industry interests goes a long way to explain the secrecy surrounding trade talks with the US and why the Commission is ignoring climate science. People need to know that when Barroso talks about what is best for Europe, he really means what is best for big business.

"Instead of cosying-up to dirty industry our decision-makers should be building a safe, clean Europe for future generations."

Last week the European Commission announced climate and energy policies for 2030 which disregard climate science and will not address Europe's high dependence on costly fossil fuel imports. 

At the same time negotiations are taking place behind closed doors for an EU-US trade deal which risks giving excessive rights to companies and risks damaging public safeguards and weakening democracy.