REACTION: EU Presidency’s Industrial Summit exacerbates the corporate capture of the EU policy process, sidelining democracy

Europe in transition| Financing the transition| Global transition

Brussels, 20 February 2024 – The Belgian Presidency of the EU is currently hosting an exclusive industrial summit at the BASF chemical plant in Antwerp. Co-organised with the European chemicals industry, the event is yet another example of corporate capture of the EU policy processes, with civil society actors expressly excluded from the discussions.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, joined at the summit today by European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen, is among the ones calling for an EU Industrial Deal. The exclusion of civil society actors allows the floor to be fully taken by heavy industries presenting their visions for the Industrial Deal, European competitiveness and the path to the net zero transition. This vision by the industry forces has so starkly become a deregulation agenda, supported by a massive effort to get more public funding mainly for large corporations and multinationals.

Doreen Fedrigo, CAN Europe’s Industrial Transformation Policy Coordinator, says:

“It’s clear that the industry’s approach of excluding civil society from discussions risks to become standard practice for the European Commission. We continue to call out against such an undemocratic approach as well as to the ever-growing sums of money being asked by, and provided to, large corporations. We cannot subsidise our way into global competitiveness, not unless political leaders are ready to completely run down support of social services and climate resilience.” 

Continuing exclusive discussions between EU leaders and heavy industry threatens to drive more citizens towards extreme reactions against such collusive behaviour, especially as large swathes of the public feel abandoned by their leaders who have done little to nothing to address market weaknesses leading to the ‘cost of living’ crisis. From European farmers to public sector workers, demonstrations and strikes are becoming everyday events.

Doreen Fedrigo says:

“Producing policies that reinforce a system that is working for a few privileged citizens is more than questionable. It’s downright dangerous. The next EU Deal should go beyond the industrial priorities. It needs to be green and social, and to focus on the world the citizens want to be able to live healthy and prosperous lives in better equality.”


For more information and media requests:

Jani Savolainen, Communications Coordinator


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