Amazon lobbyists lose European Parliament access in scrutiny row

Access badges for the European Parliament were revoked from Amazon lobbyists amid a dispute over the scrutiny of the e-commerce behemoth, prompted by the EU’s committee on employment and social affairs. The committee’s chairman accused Amazon of impeding investigations into alleged breaches of fundamental rights. Amazon expressed disappointment over the decision, emphasizing its willingness to engage with EU policymakers and highlighting its substantial presence in the region.

Committee chairman Dragoș Pîslaru rebuffed Amazon’s stance, deeming it unjust for the company to lobby while obstructing the committee’s representation of European citizens’ interests. In a statement, he cited the committee’s ongoing efforts since 2021 to probe Amazon’s labor practices in the EU. Despite invitations for participation and site visits, Amazon’s purported unavailability was condemned as disrespectful to the European Parliament and its citizens.

Amazon defended its refusal to engage in what it deemed a biased session, attributing its inability to host visits to the peak Christmas season. While maintaining its desire for constructive dialogue, Amazon lamented the perceived one-sidedness of the proceedings. Despite the badge revocation, lobbyists can still access the parliament as regular visitors.

The altercation adds to a series of conflicts between the EU and major tech firms, including Google and Meta, over regulatory compliance. The passage of the Digital Services Act and ongoing investigations, such as into X’s adherence to disinformation regulations, underscore the evolving landscape of tech regulation in Europe.