#oi12 | Open Interests Europe Who sways money flows in the EU?

How EU money is spent is an issue that concerns everyone who pays taxes to the EU. As the influence of Brussels lobbyists grows, it is increasingly important to draw the connections between lobbying,

policy-making and funding. Journalists and activists need browsable databases, tools and platforms to investigate lobbyists’ influence and where the money goes in the EU. Join us and help build these tools!

Google Campus Cafe, 4-5 Bonhill Street, London — November, 24 & 25 2012, 10am - 7pm: Please register on Eventbrite by November 15.

Open Interests Europe brings together developers, designers, activists, journalists

and other geeks for two days of learning, fun, intense hacking and app building.


Source spreadsheet

Challenge 1: Lobby Transparency

Within any political process there are many interests wanting to be heard - companies, trade unions, NGOs - and Brussels is no exception. Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe and LobbyControl have begun to data-mine the lobby registers of the European Commission

and of the Parliament to find out who the lobbyists are, what they want and how much they are investing. You will have the exclusive opportunity to work with this data before it is made public in their upcoming portal. What can you do with this data?

Topic expert

Erik Wesselius is one of the co-founders of Corporate Europe Observatory. In the past few years, Erik has focused on issues related to lobbying transparency and regulation as well as EU economic governance. In 2005, Erik was active in the Dutch campaign for a "No" against the EU Constitution.

What others have done

Here are some projects that might serve as inspiration:

Challenge 2: Fish Subsidies

Subsidies paid to owners of fishing vessels and others working in the fishing industry under the European Union’s common fisheries policy amount to approximately €1 billion a year. EU Transparency gathered data relating to payments and recipients

of fisheries subsidies in every EU member state from multiple sources, from European Commission databases to member state government databases and inter-governmental fishery organizations such as ICCAT. What can you do with this data?

Topic expert

Jack Thurston is policy analyst, activist, writer and broadcaster. He is co-founder of FarmSubsidy.org, winner of a Freedom of Information Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

What others have done

Here are some projects that might serve as inspiration:

Challenge 3: Tender Information and Procurement

Each year governments of EU member states spend between 9 and 26 per cent of GDP on private contracting. Private contracts on public services such as infrastructure or health care are recorded in the European tender register. OpenTED.org has scraped, parsed and released procurement data

on 700,000 contracts from 2006 to 2011. Join us for a deep dig into this bulk of procurement data. We expect investigative stories on no-bid contracts, government outsourcing trends and what companies benefitted from the Greek public construction boom before the crisis.

Topic expert

Anders Pedersen is a data journalist and co-founder of OpenTED.org. He is the winner of the Nordic Newshacker and a Robert Bosch Stiftung Journalism Fellow.

What others have done

Here are some projects that might serve as inspiration:

Prizes & Jury

All participants will get the satisfaction of contributing to a cause that affects us all!

Not only that, the winning team will be awarded a 100 EUR Amazon voucher, pre-ordered copies of the movie The Brus$els Business – Who Runs the European Union? (to be released this autumn) and copies of The Data Journalism Handbook.

The Jury members are Rufus Pollock, co-Founder and Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Alastair Dant, Lead Interactive Technologist for the Guardian and Dan Brickley, Developer Advocate at Google.


If you have questions or suggestions please get in touch with Velichka Dimitrova.

Image credits: Corruption designed by United Unknown, Question designed by Martin Delin, Fish Skeleton designed by Gilad Fried, Written Document designed by Thomas Le Bas (all from The Noun Project).