On 18 and 19 May 2011, the European Business Summit (EBS) will be held in Brussels. The summit is ‘an initiative of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (VBO-FEB) and BUSINESSEUROPE (BE) … with the support of the European Commission’. During the event, many Commissioners and high-level EU officials will give presentations and participate in the various sessions.
While the VBO-FEB and BE are registered on the Commission’s Register of Interest Representatives, the European Business Forum, the legal entity organising the EBS, is not. The EBS is an independent event, and the costs relating to it are not included in the lobbying budget of the two initiating groups which are registered on the Commission's transparency register. According to the EBS website, ‘the European Business Summit is Europe's key meeting place for business leaders and decision-makers in the EU’. The following reasons for attending are given: ‘Meet high-level decision‑makers, develop business opportunities, expand your network, get updated on the latest EU issues, attract public and private funding, receive media coverage’. This clearly makes the summit a lobbying event.
Does the Commission agree that it is not justified for the Commission to provide support for an event organised by a body which is not registered on the Commission’s register while it is actively conducting lobbying activities by supporting the participants in obtaining contacts with high-level EU decision-makers? If so, is the Commission willing to make its support conditional on EBS registration on the Commission’s register? If not, why not?
Is the Commission willing to actively promote its register at the ESB by asking participants involved in lobbying the Commission to register, e.g. by providing a registration booth at the summit? If not, why not?