Despite strict guidelines and the revitalized EU Transparency Register, a who’s-who list of lobbyists accredited with the European Commission, several loopholes continue to allow business and interest groups close access to Commission officials. By hiring attorneys instead of registered lobbyists and wooing junior officials rather than their bosses, interest groups can keep their meetings discreet while successfully influencing key legislation. If all else fails, increasing the lobbying budget doesn’t hurt either: between 2013 and 2014, Goldman Sachs reported a 14-fold increase in lobbying expenses in Brussels after the new transparency rules took effect.
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