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Tech companies have allocated nearly € 100m to lobby the EU over the past year in a bid to counter tough new laws regulating their activities, with Google, Facebook and Microsoft spending the most money , according to a study.

The document, released on Tuesday by campaign groups Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl, found that annual spending on lobbying the EU’s digital economy policies reached 100 million euros ($ 114.4 million ).

More than 600 companies have been involved in such activities, at least 20% of which are based in the United States, the authors said after analyzing data submitted by market participants to the EU Transparency Register before mid -June 2021.

The biggest of these was Google, which invested 5.75 million euros in various lobbying activities. Facebook and Microsoft were not far behind, with respectively 5.5 million euros and 5.25 million euros. The Top Six was completed by Apple at 3.5 million euros, Huawei at 3 million euros and Amazon at 2.75 million euros, according to the newspaper.

Big Tech has now spent more than the pharmaceutical, fossil fuel, finance and chemicals sectors that dominated lobbying in previous years, he added.

These massive budgets ensure that EU policy makers “Find digital lobbyists who knock on their doors regularly”, says the report. The main goals of the IT companies were the EU’s proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to ensure fair competition in the industry by preventing abuse of power by key players, and the Law on digital services (DSA), which requires companies to maintain tighter control over the content of their platforms.

Their lobbyists were involved in 75% of the 271 meetings that European Commission officials held regarding the DMA and DSA projects, the newspaper said: “Despite public support for these proposals, meeting minutes, leaked lobbying strategies, and position papers show that big tech continues to push against them, doing their best to water down any strict rules.”

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The concentration of such economic and lobbying power in the hands of Big Tech has become “A direct threat to our democracy” as its very economic model undermines human rights, fair competition and democratic decision-making, insisted the authors of the survey.

The report should become “a wake-up call” for Brussels to impose stricter regulations on lobbying at EU and state level, while ensuring that new instruments are created to limit the capacities of companies to shape the laws of the bloc according to their needs , they added.

When asked to comment on the Reuters investigation, Google insisted it had “Clear policies in place to protect the independence of the people and organizations we sponsor, including a funding disclosure requirement.”

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Microsoft described the EU as “an important player” for the company and assured that it seeks to be “a constructive and transparent partner for European decision-makers”.

Huawei said it always correctly submits its lobbying data to the EU, with Facebook, Apple and Amazon having no immediate comment.

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