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The EU Parliament in Brussels: Important rules for digital companies are decided here

Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa

The European Parliament is becoming increasingly important for digital companies like Amazon.

But its lobbyists have now suffered a serious defeat: after complaints from MPs, their house IDs are being revoked.

The conflict between the US company and the representatives in Brussels has been simmering for some time.

The Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) repeatedly deals with working conditions at the retail group, but complains about Amazon's lack of willingness to answer parliamentarians' questions.

Although the company, as the Financial Times reports, has registered 14 employees in the official register of stakeholders, the committee has had problems communicating with Amazon on various occasions.

Mutual visits canceled

As the specialist medium "Euractiv" notes, in 2021 the parliamentarians invited the then Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to comment on the working conditions in his company, but the multi-billionaire did not even send a high-ranking employee to Brussels.

Instead, the MPs only received a written statement.

Even when they wanted to get an idea of ​​the situation in logistics centers in Germany and Poland at the end of 2023, Amazon turned them down.

After another incident in January, the members of the committee had had enough and decided to punish the company.

The European Parliament confirmed to SPIEGEL that the General Secretariat of the European Parliament has now been authorized to revoke the long-term access cards of the Amazon lobbyists.

Amazon expressed disappointment in the move in a statement.

"We are convinced that we have committed ourselves with the best of intentions, in contrast to some critics who seem to be more concerned with winning a victory than with advancing understanding of important issues," an Amazon spokeswoman explains to SPIEGEL .

Although they refused to take part in a hearing that was perceived as one-sided, they were ready to receive the committee members in the logistics centers.

The planned visit in December was simply canceled because the Christmas business made the additional effort required to look after a large delegation impossible.

It is only the second time that the EU Parliament has resorted to this measure: in 2017, the parliamentarians revoked the house ID cards of the interest groups of the agricultural group Monsanto.

The decision does not mean that Amazon's stakeholders will no longer come to parliament, but their freedom of action will be significantly restricted.

The EU is playing an increasingly larger role in regulating digital offerings, such as the planned rules for artificial intelligence.

In addition to the trading business, digital services are becoming increasingly important for the group's balance sheet.