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In the hands of lobbyists: Is EU politics ruled by corporate check books? - 17.04.2012

AK EUROPA, the Brussels Office of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour, and the ÖGB Europabüro, the Brussels Office of the Austrian Trade Union Federation, with the support of ALTER-EU, cordially invite you to a panel discussion on

In the hands of lobbyists:
Is EU politics ruled by corporate check books?

When: Tuesday, 17 April 2012, 19:00h

Where: Mundo-B, 26, Rue d’Edimbourg, 1050 Brussels

Lobby scandals have become a part of everyday life in political Brussels. For citizens and workers, EU decision-making – within the European Commission and its manifold “technical” expert groups, as well as in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers is far from being transparent. Furthermore, an armada of professional corporate lobbyists seeks to influence EU decision-makers to water down legislative proposals that could be detrimental to the interests of business and finance. Together with the assault on the pillars of democracy in EU countries in financial difficulties, these developments have led to a widespread sentiment of frustration with traditional politics in the nation states and the EU. They threaten to undermine the very essence of democracy in Europe.

Are we already living in the age of “post-democracy”, as described by the famous political scientist Colin Crouch? How do the power relations between corporate lobbyists and trade unions and NGOs look like in Brussels? What are the most flagrant examples of lobbying strategies of big business and finance to influence EU decisions? What are the political answers to counter the growing EU fatigue among ordinary citizens and workers?

At the beginning of the discussion, we will air a short extract from the new Austrian-Belgian documentary co-production “The Brussels Business”, two days ahead of the Brussels premiere, and will have the opportunity to talk to the co-author and co-director Matthieu Lietaert.

On the panel:

Colin Crouch, Emeritus Professor Warwick University, Author of “Post-Democracy” and “The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism”

Dieter Plehwe, Social Science Research Center Berlin, will present the new AK study „The European struggle of forces - lobbyists in Brussels”

Vicky Cann, Campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory

Bernhard Achitz, Secretary General, Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB)

Moderation: Lisbeth Kirk, Editor-in-chief, EUobserver

The panel discussion will be held in English and German with simultaneous translation.
Following the discussion we would like to invite you to join us for a buffet dinner.

Please register until 13 April 2012 using the following link:



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Foto: AK Europa 2012