AFCO – Committee on Constitutional Affairs
“Lobbying the European Parliament (EP) for the common welfare? In the light of
discussions about the introduction of a legislative footprint and increased civic
participation, what strategy should the EP adopt towards interest representation and
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as legitimate partners in policy-making?”
The Role of NGOs
These are the main institutions and bodies that make up the European Union but in order for them to work they need the input of citizens. In order to have a better say and influence over EU policy and legislation hundreds of trade unions, business organisations and NGO groups have organised themselves at a European level. By cooperating at an EU level NGOs can supplement the work they do locally and regionally. Many Irish NGOs are now represented in Europe by umbrella groups, some of which have dedicated EU officers and permanent representations in Brussels. European NGO networks represent their members on a European political level by sharing information with one another and lobbying politicians and Commission officials on specific issues. The EU actively engages with NGO networks through informal lobbying and direct consultation. Making good use of the NGO networks can be a powerful campaigning tool for Irish groups.
In a conventional way of approaching the notion of “EU lobbyists,” one can speak of businesses, groups of activists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), citizens’ groups and so on, representing their interests before the decision-makers in so that EU legislation and policies do not harm them or even is drafted to their benefit.
Besides the European Commission and Parliament's code of conduct for the Transparency Register, lobbying organisations have developed their own professional codes of conduct to regulate their activities. The main criticism of the current situation regarding lobbying is the lack of transparency. Meanwhile lobbying...