Monday, December 05, 2005

Definition of Lobbying

The text here below is the first chapter of a paper entitled ‘Comparative Lobbying Practices: Washington, London, Brussels written by Mr. Conor Mc Grath, Lecturer in Political Communication and Public Affairs at the University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.
The value of this presentation is that it is based on research as well as on the interviews conducted by the author.
In the national context in particular, lobbyists are often seen in a negative light as “pullers off strings” to influence politics out of the public eye. In Brussels on the other hand, in as far as they are playing a constructive role, lobbyists are appreciated as experts. The lobbyist bringing good ideas and convincing arguments to the table is likely to receive undivided attention and positions himself as a proactive partner assisting in solving the problem at stake. Admittedly, there is a problem of definition. Today people in the industry are ‘European Public Affairs Specialists’, ‘EU Public Affairs Professionals’, ‘Government Relations Officers’, ‘Business Communications Officers’, ‘Corporate Affairs Managers’, ‘Specialist Public Affairs Consultants’ probably taking into account that ‘lobbying’ is not more than 15% of what needs to be done. The rest of the time is taken up with monitoring, analysis, networking, strategy formation and a healthy dash of informed guesswork about likely future developments.
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