The data puts Telekom Austria’s lobbying expenses at €2.75 million a year – something the group denies. It told the Austrian Press Agency that the figure was “fantasy” and that it only employs one person in Brussels.
LobbyFacts data shows that the top ten companies spending on EU lobby activities are: Philip Morris International, ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical, Microsoft, Shell Companies, Siemens, GDF SUEZ, General Electric Company, Huawei Technologies, Bayer, and Telekom Austria Group. They have a combined lobby expenditure of over €39 million per year.
Austrian plastics manufacturer Borealis spends around €2 million a year – putting it just behind the top ten. The brick producer Wienerberger (€350,000), Borealis Partnership OMV (up to €300,000), telecommunications company Kapsch (up to €250,000), Raiffeisen Central Bank (€200,000), electricity provider Verbund (up to €200,000) as well as Asfinag and ÖBB (both up to €150,000), are all considered to have big budgets for lobbying.
However, US corporations are the biggest spenders in Brussels lobbying.
Austria has 154 registered lobby organisations, just behind the US which has 156. Belgium tops the list with 1,659.
Natacha Cingotti of Friends of the Earth Europe said: “What we see is just the tip of the iceberg. Given the lack of a mandatory register, too much of the lobbying directed at EU institutions is shrouded in secrecy, with numerous lobby groups and law firms shunning disclosure or under-reporting their lobby budgets.”