with 612 companies, groups and business
associations lobbying the EU’s digital economy policies. Together, they
spend over €97 million annually lobbying the EU institutions. This
makes tech the biggest lobby sector in the EU by spending, ahead of
pharma, fossil fuels, finance, and chemicals.
in spite of the varied number of
players, this universe is dominated by a handful of firms. Just ten
companies are responsible for almost a third of the total tech lobby
spend: Vodafone, Qualcomm, Intel, IBM, Amazon, Huawei, Apple, Microsoft,
Facebook and Google spend more than €32 million making their voices
heard in the EU.
out of all the companies lobbying the
EU on digital policy, 20 per cent are US based, though this number is
likely even higher. Less than 1 per cent have head offices in China or
Hong Kong. This implies Chinese firms have so far not invested in EU
lobbying quite as heavily as their US counterparts.
digital industry companies are not just
lobbying individually. They are also collectively organised into
business and trade associations which are themselves important lobby
actors. The business associations lobbying on behalf of Big Tech alone
have a lobbying budget that far surpasses that of the bottom 75 per cent
of the companies in the digital industry.
Tech’s huge lobbying budgets have a significant impact on EU
policy-makers, who find digital lobbyists knocking on their door on a
regular basis. The lobbying surrounding proposals for a Digital Services
pack, the EU’s attempt at reining in Big Tech, provides the perfect
example of how the firms’ immense budget provides them with privileged
access: Commission high-level officials held 271 meetings, 75 percent of
them with industry lobbyists. Google and Facebook led the pack.
In spite of publicly supporting these
proposals, meeting minutes, leaked lobbying strategies and position
papers show Big Tech are still lobbying against them, trying their best
to water down any hard rules. This lobby battle has now moved to the
European Parliament and Council and, in spite of the lack of
transparency, we start seeing Big Tech’s lobbying footprint in the EU
capitals like Tallinn, Estonia. https://corporateeurope.org/en/2021/08/lobby-network-big-techs-web-influence-eu