Welcome to LobbyFacts – the essential, searchable platform for data on lobbying in the European institutions. LobbyFacts makes it easy to find, use and understand official sources of data on EU lobbying. Where the official sources are almost impossible to search and do not offer rankings, Lobbyfacts provides handy tools to compare, order and analyse today’s lobby data, and data from the recent past, to help journalists and researchers track lobbyists and their influence at the EU level.
LobbyFacts collates information from two official sources. Firstly, data is taken from the EU's transparency register which is the only official source of information about which organisations lobby the EU institutions. The LobbyFacts database incorporates this data and makes it easier to extract interesting information. LobbyFacts is the only available source of historical EU lobby data. Our lobby data archive, consisting of a collection of daily xml files with the full content of the transparency register and a list of EP accredited lobbyists made available on the European Union Open Data Portal. Our xml archive goes back to 17 February 2012. On the basis of these data LobbyFacts can present a history for each organisation on the lobby register.
Secondly, the data on the Commission’s high-level meetings (held by commissioners, their cabinet members and directors-general) with lobbyists are extracted from the dozens of webpages where the Commission publishes the data. LobbyFacts uses information from the official register to identify the lobby organisation met, and then consolidates this information to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of who is lobbying who. Meetings data are harvested from the European Commisison website every day and stored in the LobbyFacts database. Thus the info on meetings available on LobbyFacts is always up to date.
As the data on LobbyFacts is a replica of the data from the above-mentioned two official sources, it is therefore subject to all inaccuracies and flaws that may have occurred in the original sources. Please see our disclaimer.
LobbyFacts is a joint project of Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl. The code base powering the LobbyFacts database was originally conceived and written by Friedrich Lindenberg, was subsequently maintained and further developed by Stefan Marsiske and in the past months has been rewritten and further developed by Vincent Penesich, adding a historical dimension to the database. The code is open source and licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) v3.0. The most recent code (adding the historical dimension) will be published in September or October 2016. The website interface to the database, built on the basis of a Drupal 7 CMS, was developed by the Nestor cooperative.
At LobbyFacts, we believe that there needs to be an overhaul of the lobby transparency regime at the EU level.
Lobby transparency reveals the lobby pressures on decision-makers and can help to ensure that they listen to a variety of views when making policy; transparency can illustrate lobbying imbalances in terms of staff numbers and spending power; and it can substantially reduce unethical or unscrupulous lobbying. Lobby transparency is essential in the drive for public interest decision-making.
In particular, we demand that:
- The current imperfect voluntary EU lobby register becomes legally-binding, with sanctions for those who post inaccurate data or who refuse to join; alongside more comprehensive disclosure requirements so that the register data becomes an accurate reflection of lobbying in Brussels
- The Commission extends its proactive transparency regime so that all meetings held with lobbyists, including by lower level officials, are published online