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Finance

InfoShot: EU Tech Lobbying Spend

Lobbying is often a murky and secretive aspect of politics. In the EU, finding out which companies are trying to whisper in ears can be especially difficult.  But thanks to LobbyFacts.eu, a new online tool, the European Union’s Transparency Register is suddenly a readable and useful database.

According to the data, Microsoft is the biggest tech lobbying spender in Europe, splashing out €4.75million trying to influence lawmakers. That’s half the company’s US figure for roughly the same time period. China’s Huawei is also one of the biggest spenders in the tech industry, coughing up €3million, but its US spend last year barely scraped €500,000. Google, the biggest spender on US tech lobbying, only spent €1.25-1.5million in Europe, well short of the €11million the search giant spent in the US last year.

This trend of spending less in Europe wasn’t just limited to Google and Microsoft. From Intel (€1.75- 2million vs. €3.5million) and IBM (€1-1.25million vs. €5.5million) to Facebook and BlackBerry (both spent around a tenth of their US figures), EU spending was significantly lower. Of all the tech companies features on this list, only Huawei and Symantec actually spent more in Europe than in the US.

The top tech 10 lobbyers spent around €16,500,000 in Europe in 2013, but in the US the equivalent figure was closer to €53,000,000.

The register is non-obligatory and so there’s nothing to say this information is 100% accurate, merely what these companies are willing to admit to. But it does provide a rare insight into the shady world of political influencing.

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