The Brussels Business

Matthieu Lietaert and Friedrich Moser

Austria 2012, 1h 25min.

A feature documentary about the growing influence of lobbying on the decision-making in the European Institutions. A film that explores the mechanisms and opportunities of the ‘Brussels Business’ as well as its repercussions.

Neo-liberal ideology was victorious early on in the Anglo-Saxon economies of the US and the UK and then exported around the globe via international institutions, bilateral investment agreements and in some cases by the “disaster capitalism” described by Naomi Klein. But in Europe, neo-liberalism was delivered up to decision-makers by well organized lobbies of business interests operating as a trans-national club of industrialists. By describing the evolution of lobbying in and around the institutions of the EU, The Brussels Business does far more than just explain lobbying or describe how neo-liberalism captured Europe.

The film makes a convincing argument that lobbying is central to understanding how and why the EU project became captive to a neo-liberal ideological agenda. In the process, the film gives us a vital lesson in the history of Europe’s arrival at the crisis in which it finds itself today. For those Europeans on the right and the left who despise the EU for its democratic deficit and remoteness, the film will confirm their worst fears. For those progressives who still believe the EU could be a vehicle for social solidarity and economic progress, this film should be mandatory viewing. Why? Because The Brussels Business makes clear that, in the absence of a well-organized grassroots counter-force to the interests of business, a belief in the ability of political and economic institutions of the EU to deliver progress is simply delusional. in The brussels business we meet important examples of the activists and lobbyists who people the political struggles over policy in the EU.

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