April 17th, 2019

Failure to kick ExxonMobil out of EU Parliament as MEPs buckle under company’s lobby pressure

For immediate release

Brussels – The European Parliament’s Quaestors, responsible for upholding the institution’s code of conduct, today failed to revoke ExxonMobil’s lobby badges despite multiple Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and political groups, as well as over 100 civil society organisations, calling for a withdrawal. The decision grants the corporation’s six lobbyists continued unrestricted access to the EU institution even though it misled the public on the issue of climate change and refused to attend a corresponding public hearing last month. The decision has been mired by behind-the-scenes lobbying by ExxonMobil and its trade association FuelsEurope.

Frida Kieninger, Food & Water Europe, originator of the petition that led to the ExxonMobil climate change denial hearing:

MEPs missed a huge opportunity to show they are on the side of the people, not polluters. While the public is increasingly concerned about climate change and calls out the fossil fuel industry for blocking progress, our politicians don’t seem to agree. At the upcoming EU elections, voters will elect those who represent them, not politicians bowing to the interests of big oil, gas and coal companies.

“The European Union had the chance to show it was different from Trump’s America, but blew it. Rather than standing up to vested interests, it simply confirmed its place in the pocket of fossil fuel industry.”

Pascoe Sabido, Corporate Europe Observatory:

ExxonMobil and its lobby groups might be celebrating today’s decision, but not for long. Their scare tactics and blackmailing have kept the parliament open to their lobbyists only temporarily. The whole fossil fuels industry and its destructive political influence are under increasing scrutiny, as they try to strangle the much-needed green energy transition that is threatening their multi-billion euro profits.

“ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Total and their likes all are equally guilty of lobbying against climate action, and must all be held to account. The millions of people regularly taking to the streets for climate action will also make their voices heard at the ballot boxes next month – especially first-time voters, who are not going to stand for fossil fuel-friendly candidates.”

Dr. Geoffrey Supran, Harvard University, expert witness called by the European Parliament to testify in the Exxon climate change denialism hearing:

“It’s disappointing to see one of climate politics’ rogue agents continue to have backdoor access to EU politicians. This sends an unfortunate legitimising signal to fossil fuel interests everywhere: You can misled the public and delay action for decades, you can refuse to stand accountable, and you will get away with it. At least for now.

“Nevertheless, these proceedings have yielded important outcomes. For one, MEPs are now formally on notice that they have a bad actor on climate change whispering in their ears. For another, the EU’s hearing established crucial precedent. This was the first time, anywhere in the world, that lawmakers convened expressly to hear expert testimony about the history and consequences of climate change denial by the fossil fuel industry. As with the history of tobacco, this was just the first hearing — it won’t be the last.”


Notes to editor:

  • For more information on the behind-the-scenes lobbying surrounding the decisions by ExxonMobil and its trade association, FuelsEurope, see here
  • For a background on the public hearing that ExxonMobil refused to attend, see here
  • See the letter from more than 100 CSOs

Contact information:

Food & Water Europe: Frida Kieninger, [email protected], +32 289 310 45 / +32 487 24 99 05

Corporate Europe Observatory: Pascoe Sabido, [email protected], +44 7969 665 189/ +32 486 85 74 16

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.