Establishing a precise definition of lobbying is not simple. The definitions used range from very narrow to very wide approaches. This makes it complex to determine statistics on lobbying organisations active in Brussels for which no precise numbers can be provided.
Lobbying at EU level has very specific characteristics. It can be assessed on both access to the decision-making process as well as the success of the lobbying activity.
Besides the European Commission and Parliament’s code of conduct for the Transparency Register, lobbying organisations have developed their own professional codes of conduct to regulate their activities.
The main criticism of the current situation regarding lobbying is the lack of transparency. Meanwhile lobbying is considered a positive element by EU policy-makers insofar as it ensures the participation of social and economic actors in the policy-making process and provides useful information.
Apart from a call for more transparency, in particular through obligatory registration in the joint EP-Commission Transparency Register, stakeholders raise concerns about the issue of the possible “revolving door” as well as the apparent domination of industry interests over other interests in the EU.
The Transparency Register is launching its first review, with results expected in the beginning of 2014.