Major barriers to truly progressive, transformational EU decision-making persist: the von der Leyen Commission has spectacularly failed to reign in vested interests’ influence on the agenda, with legislative proposals having the fingerprints of corporate lobbying all over. In 2022 we have continued to counter corporate capture, and to demand that the EU and the international community hold corporations accountable for the harm they cause around the world.

Jusice is Everybody’s Business action in Brussels © FoE Europe / Philip Reynaers / Photonews

The Energy Charter Treaty going extinct

We took a 9 meter tall inflatable dinosaur representing the ‘prehistoric’ toxic, anti-climate Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) on a tour of nine European cities. The dinosaur got 17 000 views online, received broad mainstream media coverage, and contributed to policy makers in the European Parliament and in national parliaments raising serious doubts about the future of the ECT. Seven EU Member states have decided to withdraw from the ECT and more are considering an exit.

“The ECT gives multinationals the power to sue governments and was intended to protect international energy investments by foreign companies or individuals. Leaving the treaty is the right decision”.
Paul de Clerck economic justice coordinator wrote in a letter to the editor of the Financial Times
ECT-Rex Stunt in Brussels © Lode Saidane / FoE Europe

Stop the EU-Mercosur trade deal

Our persistent campaigning kept the discussions around the harmful impacts of the EU-Mercosur deal on the political agenda both at EU and national level. We organised a public debate in the European Parliament, attended by 90 people, and published a series of reports about the deal: “The powers pushing for a planet-wrecking trade deal”, “EU pharma giants’ toxic lobbying in Brazil”, and “How European banks are funding an eco-disaster”.

“This reflects how undemocratic and opaque EU trade policy can be. It is an easy way to mute opposition, avoid public debate and side-line democratic participation of citizens.”
Audrey Changoe trade campaigner, commented in Politico on the EU Commission’s maneuver to split the deal in two
Public debate on the EU-Mercosur trade deal in the European Parliament © FoE Europe

Justice is Everybody’s Business

A key moment in 2022 was the launch of the multi-year campaign Justice is Everybody’s Business. A large number of civil society and trade union organisations from around Europe and beyond stand behind the campaign to ensure business are held accountable through a strong EU corporate sustainability law – without loopholes. The campaign demands a law that makes companies respect human rights, the environment and the climate; that holds parent companies responsible in court for harm that happens in their supply chain; and that guarantees collective bargaining by trade unions and gives workers’ representatives a real say in due diligence.

“The law could be a true game-changer for corporations´ impact on the planet, or it could be a damp squib if big business lobbies get their wishes”

“The law could be a true game-changer for corporations´ impact on the planet, or it could be a damp squib if big business lobbies get their wishes”
We commented on the campaign in Euronews
Campaign launch © FoE Europe / Philip Reynaers / Photonews

Illustrating the crisis in Mozambique

Our work on corporate accountability had a specific focus on Mozambique. Jointly with several FOE groups we published a report on the humanitarian and environmental crisis in Mozambique linked to European companies and financiers, including recommendations for binding legislation on EU and UN level. We developed a comic to make the content of the report easily accessible, and hosted an event in the European Parliament around the report.

© Aurore Vegas, FoE Europe

Pursuing Fossil Free Politics

We commissioned research into the meetings of European Commission President von der Leyen, her Commissioners and their cabinets to obtain data on how frequently they met the fossil fuel industry since the beginning of the mandate. We published an analysis giving an overview of the sheer amount of lobby meetings that were held – with mind-boggling results: between December 2019 and May 2022, the von der Leyen Commission engaged in a staggering 500 meetings with representatives and lobbyists of oil, gas and coal companies. That’s close to having 1 meeting every working day.

Our Campaigns

Corporate power

Food & Farming

Resource justice

Climate Justice

Solidarity Work

Young FoEE