European Business and Parliament Scheme
The European Business and Parliament Scheme is a project of the International Association of Business and Parliament (IABP), a non profit company based in London. Like all other chapters of the IABP the EBPS claims to be transparent and 'non-lobbying'. And like all the others it is a cover for lobbyists to gain access to parliament. The EBPS says for example that the 'EBPS promotes link between practitioners rather than between decision makers and professional representatives of lobbyists.' In fact though all four corporate members of its board are professional lobbyists:
- Florence Mourey from Suez, Gives her 'industry' as 'government relations' on Linkedin and her current post as 'Deputy Head of the EU Affairs Department at GDF SUEZ'. Previously she was 'European Affairs Manager at SUEZ' and 'Consultant in EU Public Affairs at Hill & Knowlton International Belgium'
- Alexis Brouhns from Solvay, is the Director of Corporate Government and Public Affairs for the Solvay Group
- Miguel Pestana from Unilever There is a 'Miguel Veiga-Pestana listed as VP Global External Affairs for Unilever here in July 2008 
- Willem van der Weiden from Yara. In addition to his post at Yara Weiden is also supporting Vice President in charge of the Knowledge function at the European Fertilizer Manufacturers Association an industry lobby group.
According to a Green group press release:
- "The Presidency of the Parliament must shed light on the activities of the European Business and Parliament Scheme to ensure it does not pursue any hidden lobbyist agenda. According to its statute, EPBS is only a parliamentary educational resource for Parliament members and staff and for the political groups. However recent events have raised serious doubts about this organisation's true agenda.
- In preparation for the upcoming Eurolat plenary session (29 April - 1 May in Lima, Peru), the EP's Vice-president Vidal Quadras Roca wrote a letter to the Eurolat chairman José Ignacio Salafranco asking him to make all participants of this meeting aware of opportunities to visit member companies of the European Business and Parliament Scheme.
- This invitation seems totally at odds with the Common Code of principles by the International Association of Business and Parliament (IABP), the body that manages the EBPS programme. The Code applies to the EBPS programme and demands 'programmes ensure that enterprises undertake not to use their relationship for lobbying'.
- The member companies in the invitation include Suez, BBVA, BP and Telefónica, all mentioned by name. Telefónica will host an event informing participants on how the company promotes the abolition of child labour. The problem is that the companies mentioned have been severely criticised for some of their practices in Latin America and an information event with the EP can be interpreted as a positive public relations exercise to foster public goodwill.
- The Greens also want to know why the IABP has been given an office in the European Parliament and use e-mail addresses ending with 'europarl.europa.eu', giving the impression that the IABP is an official European Parliament body. The fact that Hans-Gert Pöttering is patron of the EBPS cannot justify the provision of rent -free offices in the Parliament with costs of telecommunication and telephone paid by the Parliament. The Greens call upon the Parliament's Presidency to clarify the situation without delay."
In a letter to Hans-Gert Poettering, President of the European Parliament, Monica FRASSONI Co-President of the Green Group wrote:
- From the EPBS website we also learnt that you, like two other former Presidents, are the patron of the EBPS, and moreover that under your Presidency, the IABP has been given an office in the European Parliament and use e-mail addresses ending with europarl.europa.eu, giving the impression that the IABP is an official European Parliament body. The decision to attribute an office to IABP was taken by the Quaestors on 26 September 2007, overruling earlier negative decisions by the Quaestors of 5 September 2007 and 13 December 2006.
- The Bureau Decision on patronage of 9 June 1997, consolidated on 1 May 2004, states that "Parliament’s patronage shall be lent to specific events only. Such arrangements may not be permanent" It also says "the President may lend his patronage to an activity and designate a Vice-President to represent him; such arrangements must not have additional budgetary implications for Parliament" Events may "not have any commercial purpose"
This letter lead to the EPBS being evicted from the Parliament:
- The European Business and Parliament Scheme (EBPS), whose patron is parliament chief Hans-Gert Poettering, has an office in the parliament and its employees share the same email address as euro-deputies. The set-up - after two initial refusals because of lack of space - was approved on 26 September 2007 by the quaestors of the parliament, MEPs who look after the administrative affairs of the Brussels house.
- The scheme's 28 affiliated companies include major internationals such as software giant Microsoft, and the energy companies BP, RWE and Gaz de France. It provides a range of programmes including "company attachments" in which MEPs or other senior officials of the parliament can spend a day or two with a company to provide "an insight" into how the business works. The official website of the scheme states that "costs such as travel, accommodation and other programme-related expenses are covered from the European Parliament and the EBPS budgets."
- A meeting of the parliament's political group leaders on Thursday (24 April) decided to discontinue the office and email arrangements after the matter was raised by Italian MEP Monica Frassoni, co-head of the Green group, who asked in a letter "whether [EBPS] was engaged in some kind of lobbying activity." Speaking to EUobserver, Ms Frassoni noted that the website was "very open" and there is "nothing evil" about the scheme but that it was the "wrong decision" by the quaestors to grant this sort of access.
- She said it was "totally inappropriate" that a scheme of co-operation between parliamentarians and big multinationals has an "office and mail with an europa.eu address and on its web is written that training and meetings will be paid by the European Parliament." "The conference of presidents decided to delete this authorisation of opening an office and a mail."
- Prof. Dr. Hans-Geert Poettering MEP President of the European Parliament
Chairman of the Board
- Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca MEP Vice-President of the European Parliament
- John Bowis MEP Party: Conservative and Unionist Party (EPP-ED) Country: United Kingdom
- Lena Ek MEP Party: Centerpartiet (ALDE Group) Country: Sweden
- Angelika Niebler MEP Party: Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern e.V. (EPP-ED) Country: Germany
- Edit Herczog MEP Party: Magyar Szocialista Párt (PSE) Country: Hungary
- Manuel Medina Ortega MEP Party: Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSE) Country: Spain
- Dirk Sterckx MEP Party: Vlaamse Liberale en Democraten - Vivant (ALDE Group) Country: Belgium
- Florence Mourey from Suez,
- Alexis Brouhns from Solvay,
- Miguel Pestana from Unilever and
- Willem van der Weiden from Yara
- Gaz de France
- PASCUAL Dairy
- PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna
- Real Madrid FC
- Thalys International
- Vega Sicilia-Grupo EULEN
- Yara International ASA
- Munich Airport
- Industry and Parliament Trust
- Scottish Parliament Business Exchange
- International Association of Business and Parliament
- Linkedin Florence Mourey, accessed 4 November 2008
- Alexis Brouhns, accessed 4 November 2008
- Pestana, accessed 4 November 2008
- Stakeholder Commitments, accessed 4 November 2008.
- PRESS RELEASE - Brussels, 15 April 2008 Lobbying, Greens question Pöttering about stealth lobbyists in parliament.
- Brussels, 4 April 2008, Letter to Mr Hans-Gert Poettering President of the European Parliament from Monica FRASSONI Co-President of the Green Group
- Business organisation to be removed from European Parliament EUobserver, 24.04.2008 - 17:40 CET | By Honor Mahony
- EBPS EBPS Business Advisory Board Meeting, accessed 3 November 2008