Member states play a hugely important role in EU decision-making but the way they operate at the EU, including in the Council and the European Council, is often shrouded in secrecy. Business interests actively lobby member state ministers and officials to ensure that EU regulations suit them, including on climate change, finance, chemicals, data privacy, and many other issues. But when corporate interests win, the public interest loses out. It is time to stop EU member states from acting as middlemen for corporations.

Corporate capture and citizen participation

To tackle the above, we want to see:

1. Adoption by all member state governments of national level rules and cultures which reduce the risk of corporate influence on EU decision-making.

These should include prioritisation of public-interest decision-making; an end to privileged access to ministers and officials by corporate lobbies; improved freedom of information rules and proactive transparency; and legally-binding national lobby transparency registers. Additionally, there should be far greater member state parliamentary scrutiny and accountability on government decision-making at the EU level.

2. Action by the EU institutions to tackle the role of excessive corporate influence within the democratic deficit in which they operate.

These should include: an improved EU lobby transparency register which covers the Council and the European Council, alongside the Commission and Parliament; full and published minute-taking of Council working group meetings, and comitology meetings, to include the positions advocated by member states; and far greater public access to Council and EuropeanCouncil documents.

3. New models for citizens themselves to both find out more about – and have a say on – the matters with which member states are tasked with deciding.

This could include participatory hearings, at the national, regional, or municipal level, on specific upcoming pieces of EU legislation; regular in-person discussion forums; digital consultations; citizens’ initiatives involving petitions, and more.

Read more about these issues in Corporate Europe Observatory’s report “Captured states: when EU governments channel corporate interests” and executive summaries in ENG, FR, DE, ESP

Political Parties On Issues

  • European People's Party
  • Socialists and Democrats
  • ALDE
  • European Greens
  • European Free Alliance
  • ECR Group
  • European Left



The On Our Watch project brings together Civil Society Organisations working on all kind of topics. As representatives of and in direct contact with citizens, organisations have a strong role to play in holding the European Parliament accountable to the public. By joining forces in the context of the #EUelections2019 (23-26 May), On Our Watch offers a comprehensive overview of the key issues that European citizens care about.

Want to join? Get in touch! Contact: christian.skriverik[@]  | Address: Place du Luxembourg 2, B-1050, Brussels | Phone: +32 2 508 30 83