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The wicked duality of lobbies and bribes The wicked duality of lobbies and bribes
by Thanos Kalamidas
2022-12-16 09:30:47
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Despite to what a lot around Brussels might say, Qatar bribe scandal didn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Sad to say it but while the European Union founders used the US Capitol Hill as a blueprint on how to organize, legislate, operate and establish the Union’s legislative institutions in the end the only thing Brussels really adopted from US Capitol Hill has been the wicked duality of lobbying and bribes.

Lobbies are cancerous identities that have long eaten inside US legislature and obviously are doing good work in Europe as well. In Washington D.C. lobbying is legal and bribing can follow ‘legal’ pathways before ending to the right pockets or bank accounts, in Europe lobbying still lives in gray areas and Qatar case is the proof of it. Another dissimilarity between lobbies in Washington D.C. and Brussels is the powers behind the lobbies. Most of the lobbies in Washington have private interests and rarely states and foreign countries –Turkey to name one, in Europe things work vice versa; most of the time lobbies represent countries outside EU interests, -without that meaning that even EU member states don’t lobby through specialists inside EU institutions.

And yes while Qatar is in the talk at the moment, the strongest and biggest lobbying power in EU is ...USA. just over two decades ago when the talk was about a European army, independent from NATO and the American weapons supermarket, totally dedicated in the defence of Europe and not the American interests abroad and armed with totally European arms in an effect to help the European industry, Americans went wild west. Rumours of bribes flew all over Brussels and other European capitals (mainly Paris and Berlin), while and totally coincidentally a lot of EU parliament members and members of the mighty commission found a way to visit USA for ....private reasons. Obviously a lot of them finding the streets of Washington D.C. far more entertaining than Riviera, Monte Carlo or Capri.

Less than twenty years ago, the European parliament started talking about the aluminium prices and tariffs in relation with US aluminium. That was another period a lot of members of the European parliament or members of the mighty commission found that Washington D.C. makes a better ...holidaying place than Santorini.

Funny thing now, while all American politicians, analysts, academics or journalists have often mention the damaging role of lobbies in American democracy it was only Barrack Obama who actually talked about it openly. He actually made a promise, during both his campaigns, to somehow put an end to the lobbies’ uncontrollable exploitation of the system. Ironically he was replaced by the ultimate instrument of the lobbies – especially NRA, Donald Trump. And Don made sure that lobbies – especially the ones that paid well – were back, stronger than ever. Best example the bankrupted far-right leaning and mysteriously richly funded NRA.

Still this is just the peak of the lobbying and bribes iceberg in USA and what the European Union found best to mimic to a European version where the Qatar bribe scandal is just the very peak of the lobbying and bribes iceberg. But now Europe has the chance USA never had. To put an end in this situation and the European Union has this chance because –thankfully, hasn’t become Untied States of Europe yet and the still independent member/state governments still control their legislature and they actually manage their judicature for bad or in this case for ...good, as the comparison between Hungary and Belgium prove.

The problem with the duality of lobbying and bribes is toxic and cancerous dangerous for the European Union and for democracy globally. Sadly the European media reach it in a totally superficially way with detailed descriptions of Ms Eva Kaili’s suitcase and the piles of Euros found in her apartment, but not a word about the reality of lobbying and bribes in Brussels that reach far further than Qatar and much closer than we would like to admit. But that almost demands a new role for the media or better their old role lost inside another iceberg with has a lot to do with who owns most of the European media and what’s the relationship of those owners with lobbying and bribes. Now you got an idea on how big this lobby and bribes iceberg is and how lethal cancerous for democracy globally becomes.

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