The world’s biggest tech companies have increased their spending on lobbying activities in Brussels over the past year as debates over new and far-reaching tech rules intensified.
Apple, Amazon, Meta, Google and Microsoft have all increased their lobbying spend, according to new data EU Transparency Register. The increase, which was previously unreported, came as the bloc debated a set of new rules aimed at curbing the power of internet giants and cracking down on illegal content.
“With this update, we finally see how much big tech is spending lobbying the EU as it drafts important new rules like the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act and the Artificial Intelligence Act,” Margarida Silva, researcher at Research and Campaign Group Corporate Europe Observatory, opposite POLITICO.
“As expected, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have all increased their lobbying budgets during this time – although COVID restrictions meant it was mostly done remotely,” she added.
Apple roughly doubled its spending between October 2020 and September 2021 to around 7 million euros. According to data from lobbyfact.eu, spending in the previous 12-month period was around 3.7 million euros.
The increase is even clearer if you compare the latest data with previous years. In 2014, for example, Apple’s lobbying spend was less than €1 million. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also bolstered its team of lobbyists, declaring 7.2 full-time lobbying positions, compared to 4.5 previously.
The amounts in the transparency register are reported as areas; for Apple, for example, the range is between 6.5 million and 7 million euros. At the top end, the five tech giants spent €29.5 million lobbying EU institutions during the period covered by the new data, an increase of almost a quarter over the previous period.
Apple’s jump dwarfs gains from other Silicon Valley giants. But Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and Google have all increased their lobbying spend, according to the data. Google and Meta indicated budgets of up to 6.5 million euros, followed by Microsoft with up to 6 million euros and Amazon with 3.5 million euros.
The new data sheds light on the increasing efforts being made by the Silicon Valley giants to influence upcoming tech regulations in Brussels, which will mark a significant shift in the regulatory landscape Big Tech will have to navigate.
Since Ursula Von der Leyen’s tenure as President of the European Commission began in 2019, technology companies and lobby groups have held more than 150 meetings with EU officials to discuss the DMA and DSA Corporate Europe Observatory.
https://www.politico.eu/article/big-tech-boosts-lobbying-spending-in-brussels/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Big Tech boosts lobbying spending in Brussels - POLITICO