Saturday, 25 April 2009

European Parliament Intergroups - Necessary co-ordination or just hidden lobbyism? - updated

UPDATE (2009-12-09): For a list of 2009-2014 intergroups, there is a more recent article!

Although I am quite passionate about EU-related topics, I am not an EU-insider. So while blogging, I am still learning.

Today, reading a scientific article on NGO participation in EU law-making, I stumbled over a term I haven't heard before:
Apparently, intergroups
"are informal bodies of MEPs with membership from different political groups from within the European Parliament. While intergroups are not considered organs of the European Parliament, officially recognised intergroups are resourced by the Parliament with meeting space and translation facilities."

(; PDF)
D. Chabanet calls them "a blind spot in parliamentary life", and in line with Corporate Europe the argumentation highlights these intergroups, which in general seem to be organising pre-decision and issue-related co-ordination across political groups, as (possible and sometimes obvious) room for lobbyist activities and uncontrollable external funding.

It is also made clear that the regulation on intergroups introduced by the heads of the parliamentary groups in 1999 (here in a .doc version from 2004), which was intended to make their work more transparent, led to less transparency, because several of those groups withdraw from the inside of the Parliament and continued working in the unregulated space outside its buildings.

These intergroups received only minor attention in a 2008 resolution of the parliament on transparency and lobbying, and in debates taking place in the time before this resolution was adopted, it looks like intergroups are rather defended by MEPs than criticised.

A list of groups I could find in EP documents since 2004 available online (supplemented by some found via internet research and in this document):
The latest intergroup to be formed (for the next term) seems to be on on the Danube river.

This is all I could find through a comparatively quick search on the websites of the European Parliament, but the 2006 report by Corporate Europe linked above names even more.

The topic deserves follow-up, in particular because I have seen that a number of these groups have websites (as the one on hunting), which need to be further analysed. I suppose we can also find more detailed information in other sources and with a more refined research method.

If anyone has more details, hints, remarks, suggestions, I would be more than ready to take these up and to continue this in the future.

(Updated with some additional groups, several names of Chairpersons, and links on 07 and 10 May 2009)


Anonymous said...

The Intergroup on the Danube river is a projectfor the next legislature, just as the intergroup for volunteering. You forgot 3 important intergroups: sustainable development intrgrp, health and consumers intergrp and social economy intergrp. For a simple explanation of what an intergroup is, see

Julien Frisch said...

Thanks for the hint(s). The intergroup on volunteering seems to exist since 2006 already?!

Anonymous said...

since 2004, there's an informal an official intergroup. See
To complete the info, you might find, intergroups on globalisation, tourism, gay and lesbian rights, sky and space.