Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Apr 2012 22:40 UTC
In the News "The increase is a sign that the search engine can no longer afford to operate in a Silicon Valley vacuum. For years, Google had a reputation for indifference inside the Beltway. It took Google until May 2005 to set up a presence in Washington and even then, its headquarters consisted of a one-man lobbying shop in suburban Maryland." Do the Americans among you just accept this? Is this normal? Why aren't you guys turning to the streets when your country is quite clearly being bought left and right? I mean, I'm sure this happens everywhere, but on this scale? Gives me the creeps.
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"Currently around 15,000 Brussels-based lobbyists (consultants, lawyers, associations, corporations, NGOs etc.) seek to influence the EU’s legislative process."

The main difference is that street protest is much more commonly accepted and practised in Europe than in the US. And it does act as an efficient balancing of powers, see how ACTA was almost shot down by protests. While in the US, protests are perceived negatively, see the reaction to the "occupy wall-street" movement. And there is effectively no balance.

An other difference, and problem, is the lack of political offer. US is essentially a two-party systems, and often, the laws are supported and opposed by people in different party. EU is a multi party system, increasing the competition, meaning that MP are careful to not vote anything that would displease voters. Also, at the European State level, even in countries dominated by two parties (such as France, UK or Spain), the smaller party get enough vote to influence the main parties.

All in all, it contributes to reduce the influence of lobbying organisations. Also, in Europe, since lobbying is often not strictly legalized (like in France), it is also not done as openly. Not counting that there is limited coverage of what happen at the EU-level, hence we hear little of the lobbying activities.

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