Sun Nov 19th, 2006 at 05:07:23 PM EST
Got an FFII mail in my inbox asking me to support their cause by participating in an online vote. Here's their explanation:
Corporate Europe Observatory (corporateeurope.org), an organization that keeps track of questionable lobbying tactics and EU institutions or officials who "have their ears a little too open for one side of the story", has nominated the European Commission's DG Internal Market for this year's "Worst Privileged Access Award": http://www.worstlobby.eu/selectwinner.php for "manipulating a consultation on EU patent policies".
Other nominees on the 'worst privileged access' side of the vote are Peter Mandelson, the Austrian and Finnish EU presidencies, Günther Verheugen and Günther Verheugen once again together with Vladimír pidla.
Now the offences are all grave. I will, of course, recommend voting for the DG Internal Market. But here's a short argument:
I don't know about giving Mandelson any kind of award, think he's best left ignored, but you are all free to differ on that. What the Austrian and Finnish presidencies did strikes me as slightly less bad. The Austrians and Fins closed a single meeting, whereas the DG Internal Market manipulated an entire consultation. The offences of pidla and Verheugen and Verheugen alone are on a similar level, though. (together, they closed off the policy on Corporate Social Responsibility to anyone but business interests, Verheugen alone set up several expert groups for policy advice that were dominated by big business)
But consider that Verheugen was already nominated twice. And then consider that you can get at Charlie McCreevy by voting for DG Internal Market.
On the other side, you can vote for worst lobbying. I'll vote for Exxon, but I'm not giving recommendations there.