The European Commission says France should do more to enforce corporate lobbying rules.
In its latest rule of law report, the Commission noted that while France has “a regulation of lobbying” in place, “significant concerns remain in relation to the application of these rules to all types of lobbying actors.”
The Commission urges France to “ensure that rules on lobbying activities are consistently applied to all relevant actors, including at top executive level.”
It comes the same week as the “Uber Files” scandal, a large international investigation based on internal Uber documents.
As part of the investigation, the French newspaper Le Monde published privileged exchanges between Emmanuel Macron and the US company, from when the current French president served as finance minister.
The French president has faced heavy criticism over the revelation, with one opposition lawmaker calling him “the president of lobbies who drives for Uber” as parliament debated a no-confidence motion against the government.
The EU report also said that a Group of States against Corruption (Greco) recommendation on the “disclosure of lobbying meetings with persons who are entrusted with top executive functions at national level remains unaddressed.”
Greco had recommended in a report in January that “persons in senior positions in the executive should be required to report publicly at regular intervals on the interest representatives met and the issues discussed”. It also recommended that “all interest representatives who meet with a public official (…), whether or not they themselves have requested the meeting, should be required to register as interest representatives”.
The Commission added that France’s High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP), which is responsible for the public register of interest representatives, “lacks human and technical resources”.