It has been since the beginning of the year Lobby register on the website of the German Bundestag. More than 5,000 companies, associations, organizations, networks, individuals and other “stakeholders” have now registered there. The register is not complete: there are various loopholes. But there are already around 38 lobbyists for every MP who influence German politics in their own favour. There is little left for the interests of the citizens…
5,006 “active stakeholders” currently registered; proud 28,454 people are after Lobby register currently entitled to exercise an interest representation. While business is the most represented with almost 46 percent, “environmental lobbyists” take second place with just under 41 percent. More than 31 percent of the registered “stakeholders” are dedicated to so-called climate protection, over 22 percent want to promote renewable energies. These include, for example, players such as “Foundation Climate Neutrality gGmbH“, which comes up with annual financial expenses in the area of interest representation of 2,500,000 euros.
Uniper SE on the other hand, the representation of interests can cost more than 2,830,000 euros a year – so it is not surprising that the federal government jumps when the energy giant blows the whistle. Although energy companies raked in hefty excess profits during the crisis, German citizens are supposed to support them with the gas levy out of their own pockets (and ultimately go bankrupt themselves in the process). Let’s look at another area: The Pfizer Pharma GmbH raised around 1,430,000 euros for advocacy last year. That should have paid off…
Register is incomplete
Anyone wishing to contact members of the Bundestag, members of the government and their employees as a lobbyist or take part in hearings must register register by law – Otherwise there is a risk of fines of up to 50,000 euros (although it is questionable whether violations will actually be punished). They should provide information, for example, about their clients and subject areas as well as the personnel and financial costs of their lobbying activities in the Bundestag and the Federal Government.
Exceptions apply to trade unions, employers’ associations and churches – because of “only pretended arguments”, such as the organization Transparency empangertbecause churches and the like also act as lobbyists. Transparency demands an independent institution that monitors compliance with the rules and investigates violations.
In the future, all new laws should also show which interest groups have influenced them – the traffic light parties have promised this. However, transparency does not rule out that there will only be “placebos coming” – one will pay very close attention to “whether one can really understand how lobbying was done on which topic and who did it”. This must also be comprehensible in the ministries down to the departmental level, since that is where the first drafts are made. It is doubtful whether the federal government is interested in so much transparency. Anyone who dutifully serves a lobby will at least get fat rewards.
How many MEPs are lobbyists themselves?
By the way, 28 are registered lobbyists even members of the Bundestag (although here again it is questionable whether all lobbyists are really well-behaved). These people can therefore work directly politically for their own lobby and, for example, cleverly secure hefty profits through appropriate new laws. In this way, the work of a politician pays off twice. Of course, only the citizen falls by the wayside – but outside of campaign banter they are of no interest anyway, as long as they pay their taxes without complaining.