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Fine Gael should commit to lobbying transparency for New Year resolution – Matt Carthy MEP

29 December, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has suggested that an appropriate New Year's Resolution for Fine Gael would be to join the demand for increased transparency over lobbying in the European institutions.

Carthy said that such a commitment was required from Fine Gael after their four MEPs voted against two amendments that stated MEPs should only meet with lobbyists who have been registered in the Transparency Register and that they should publish these meetings online during the December plenary session of the European Parliament.

Despite the negative votes of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) group, which Fine Gael is part of, the amendments were adopted by the majority of MEPs. Sinn Fein MEPs were co-authors of the amendments.

Carthy, a member of the Panama Papers inquiry, said this week:

"From Luxleaks to the Panama Papers to the Bahamas Leaks we have seen leading members of the European institutions directly involved in corruption and conflict of interest scandals. The revolving door between the institutions and wealthy corporations continues to spin, as we've seen most recently with the appointment of former Commission President Barroso to Goldman Sachs.

"There are an estimated 30,000 industry lobbyists based in Brussels that try to influence the legislative process, in favour of banks, arms manufacturers and wealthy corporations to the detriment of working people, public health and the environment.

"This month we saw a report from the Corporate Europe Observatory that outlined how industry lobbyists have effectively delayed and watered down the revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive aimed at protecting workers from exposure to carcinogenic substances in the workplace, which are responsible for 100,000 deaths a year in the EU.

"Earlier this year we saw another report that revealed the City of London financial lobby spends €34 million a year to influence EU policy-making."

Carthy concluded:

"Meeting only those on the Transparency Register and creating a public record of all meetings between MEPs and lobbyists are two modest steps that can and should be taken to try to weaken the influence of the aggressive, profit-driven lobbyists in Brussels. It is frankly unbelievable that four Irish MEPs voted against these basic measures in favour of transparency and public accountability for politicians.

"Fine Gael needs to explain this position to the Irish people. More importantly they need to commit themselves to changing tack in 2017 and joining the demand for increased transparency of the role of lobbyists."


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