Reclaiming our digital future
Shedding light on Big Tech lobbying in the European Parliament
With the EP's mandate coming to an end in 2024, many crucial digital policy files are currently in their finishing stages. Many of them have an impact on our democracies. As the influence of big tech companies on many aspects of our lives has brought challenges for our societies, EU policymaking has increasingly aimed at tackling their monopolistic business model.
Unfortunately, this has often happened to the detriment of consumer protection, workers' rights, freedom of expression or our democracy, which is why the EU has reacted with proposals targeting some of the biggest issues in these areas. In the last couple of months (and years), there has been not only significant backlash of (big) tech companies against some of the digital policy related proposals but also from numerous trade associations, think tanks and not so independent academics that oftentimes become secondary channels of big tech influence on digital files. Ultimately, this has led to an unprecedented level of external lobbying on digital dossiers. As confirmed by a recent report published by Corporate Europe Observatory and Lobby control, tech companies are now spending €113m a year to influence EU decision-making, representing a significant increase of 16.5% since 2021. Specifically, Meta, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are among the top 6 lobby spenders in Brussels.
These trends highlight the worrying level of private sector influence on digital policymaking at the EU-level and the urgent need for stricter regulations in the lobby sector to tackle unbalanced lobbying in digital policy making.
This event aims to shed light on these practices and allow also interested people from the outside how lobbying has taken place and how it has affected political work during this EP mandate. MEPs from the Greens/EFA group, together with selected participants from civil society, will share anecdotes from their work on digital policy files and, in general, on how big tech lobbying works in Brussels. Finally, potential pathways to tackle external private influence on the EP work in digital policy will be discussed.
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