The Brus$els Business – Who Runs the European Union?

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A new film, released in cinemas in Austria on 16 March, puts the spotlight on the power of the lobbying industry in Brussels. Corporate Europe Observatory was approached by the filmmakers at the start of their project and our early work features prominently in the film, which tells the story of how industry lobby groups heavily influenced the EU’s development from the 1980’s onwards.

Since that time, the presence of industry lobbyists in Brussels has grown – as has their influence and the corporate agenda is clearly visible in the EU’s policies – including in its response to the crisis. This year, CEO celebrates its 15th birthday – and in May this year we will be marking the event with a conference that highlights the corporate influence on the current crises facing the European Union.

Here’s how the film-makers introduce “The Brus$els Business” movie:

“In the early 1990s two young men come across the huge influence of lobbying on the EU decision-making in Brussels. One starts to investigate and fight it and becomes the EU’s leading lobby-watchdog, the other becomes a high profile lobbyist for 40 multinational companies.

The film dives into the shadowy world of lobbying, the secretive networks of power and big business influence on EU-policy-making in Brussels. It tells the non-official version of the European Integration since the 1980s, the story of the neoliberal take-over in European politics.

At a time when Europe is facing a deep crisis that can bring the world economy to collapse this film tries to answer one question millions of people ask themselves: Who runs the European Union?”

You can find more information about the “The Brus$els Business” on the website.

The movie will enter cinemas in other countries over the coming months, while the TV version will be showed on ARTE, Belgian, German and Austria TV in the autumn. The Brussels launch will happen on April 17th at the international documentary festival Millennium.

Further reading

“The Brus$els Business” features a number of important cases of industry influence over the last 15-20 years which Corporate Europe Observatory has researched and documented. Here’s a selection of recommended reading: