Is lobbying good or bad? I don’t think you can categorise it, because it depends on the way you are using it. But of course there is a line between bad and good lobbying. This is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Many people and organized groups use lobbying. Some say that if it ‘s not done in the non-profit sector, it is just propaganda. Many people believe that lobbying is problematic for the democratic functioning of a society. I disagree with this idea. Interest representatives are a democratic necessity. No one is forcing you into taking a decision. People have the right to listen and decide what to do. Plus, the governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.
Does lobbying and ethics go well together? One face of lobbying is that the people doing it are corrupting the law for their own interest or the interest of other powerful voices. Another face of lobbying is that it helps the minorities, making sure that their interests are defended against corruption.
I recently read on a blog that there has been a lot of talk around the corruption charges against MEPs highlighted by the Sunday Times. Some articles stated that lobbying is associated with corruption. Even the Secretary General of a major European party stated: “It does look like an infestation of corporate lobbyists in the European Parliament and it seems that their only entry pass into the Parliament is a credit card.”
Even though such actions aren’t allowed by either lobbyists or MEPs, the Lobby cannot remain insensitive to such accusations that are put against the entire industry. The Sunday Times once wrote that real MEPs were hidden behind fake lobbyists.
There cannot be an industry branch that hasn’t got its bad examples. From what the Lobby is concerned, most interest representatives use honest and clear tools of persuasion to make themselves heard and understood. In addition to this, many on them subscribe to a voluntary chart of self-regulation and are also members of the Commission’s voluntary Register of Interest Representatives.