Analysis: Unchecked lobbying could corrode trust in EU, fears European Ombudsman

Emily O’Reilly is concerned that the lure of ‘big bucks’ from lobbying firms for outgoing politicians and officials is having a corrosive effect and is handing ammunition to Eurosceptics

Emily O’Reilly, the European Ombudsman, believes lobbying has has now grown from a cottage industry into a ‘palace industry’. Picture: Genevieve Engel

Emily O’Reilly was having breakfast in a Brussels café before the pandemic when she overheard two people at the next table deciding the exact member of a committee who could best be influenced.

The European Ombudsman couldn’t help but listen in as her neighbouring diners pinpointed the individuals at the heart of the decision-making in the complex network of EU politics.

“They are able to identify who the players are,” O’Reilly said, recalling the overheard ...