Germans see lobbying as negative influence on EU policy: study

More than three out of four Germans considered the influence of lobbying on the policy of the European Union (EU) to be “strong” or “very strong”, a study published by the German Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) on Friday showed.

Out of the Germans who saw lobby groups as having a strong influence on EU policy, 78 percent considered this to be a negative influence while only 3.4 percent regarded such influence as positive, according to the ZEW study.

“There is a clear problem with the acceptance of lobbying among the German population,” commented Ulrich Wagner, ZEW research associate professor.

German respondents stated that the industrial sector and policymakers profited most from lobbying activities at EU level, according to the survey.

Only 3.6 percent of Germans interviewed thought that EU citizens benefited from lobbying at EU level while 5.4 percent believed that charity organizations profited from such lobbying activities.

Almost 75 percent of German respondents reported dissatisfaction regarding the amount of information available on lobbying, which showed that Germans “see a lack of transparency” in regard to lobbying, according to the ZEW institute.

The lack of transparency could be tackled by the “expansion of the European Transparency Register as well as the introduction of such a register in Germany”, according to the ZEW study authors.