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Attracted by the increased powers of the European Commission, Parliament and other EU institutions, thousands of lobbyists have set up shop in the European quarter in EU capital Brussels. While estimates vary, the number of professional lobbyists has long passed 10,000, of which a large majority promotes the interests of big business. Spending on corporate lobbying in Brussels is estimated to be up to 1 billion euro per year.

There are widespread concerns that the growing influence of corporate lobbyists endangers social and environmental protection, and more generally, democracy in Europe. Compared to other major power hubs like Washington D.C. and Ottawa where disclosure laws are in place, corporate lobbying in Brussels remains deeply untransparent. This has led to intense debate and calls for EU rules to improve transparency and ethics in lobbying.

This website allows you a peek into this little-known but increasingly important dimension of EU politics. During the cyber-tour of the European quarter of Brussels (featuring video, 3-D animated images and short texts), you will be introduced to the headquarters of lobby groups, think tanks, individual corporations, PR companies, law firms and other key players in EU corporate politics, all located conveniently close to the corridors of power.

While you click your way through the EU quarter, you will be introduced to concrete examples of deceptive lobbying, privileged political access and other problematic practices that undermine the democratic process.

Click here to start your cybertour through the Brussels EU quarter.