Politics for people…and for bees, not for profit
Just before the EU elections between 22nd and 25th of May 2014, ALTER-EU (The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation) has launched the campaign "Politics for people, not for profit" (1). The campaign aims to check the commitment of our future euro-deputies to democracy and Europe’s citizens, and to counter the influence of corporate lobbying on the political agenda in Europe.
Corporate lobbying is a main problem. The big corporations and the banks spend hundreds of millions of euros every year to ensure that European policy-making meets their needs, at the expense of the majority of EU citizens. The corporate lobbying affects our daily life on so many sectors (2): climate change, arms trade, fracking, banaking regulation, data protection, EU-US Trade Deal, smoking, healthy food, GMO (3), pesticides.
The influence of the agro-chemical industry in the bee health debate is a permanent and insidious reality (4) (5) (6). In order to deflect blame from their products’ contributions to bee declines, the firms as Bayer, Swiss-based Syngenta and U.S.-based Monsanto have a number of tactics: spinning the science and manufacturing doubt, blaming farmers and beekeepers, Public Relation campaigns to taking a lead role in “saving bees” by promoting “bee health”, delay regulatory action on neonicotinoid pesticides,…
Moreover, the firms keep trying to control the authorisation process of their products and to have a word for example on the definition of the product risk assessment methodologies. This was the case for the risk assessment of pesticides on bees in place. On that topic, after informing the EU institutions on conflict of interest problems and on the inadequate methodologies in place (7), measures have been taken by the EU: new methodologies based on independent expertise have been published in Europe (8). They are now in the process of being implemented.
For all these reasons and considering the tactics of the corporate lobbying, it is important to always remain vigilant and to support lobby transparency, ethics regulation, balanced expert groups, a number of solutions able to tackle corporate lobbying influence on the bee health environmental debate.
(1) http://politicsforpeople.eu/en/ (2) http://politicsforpeople.eu/en/the-... (3) http://www.infogm.org/spip.php?arti... (4) http://corporateeurope.org/agribusi... (5) http://www.foe.org/news/news-releas... (6) http://bee-life.eu/medias/temp/oper... (7) http://bee-life.eu/medias/news/futu... (8) http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/...