Transparent lobbying in Brussels? Our partner Stéphane Desselas explains how it is possible
The president of Athenora Consulting tells how his agency conducts lobbying in the European capital and how to make the process more democratic.
The Belgian capital is home of several institutions of the European Union, such as the European Commission. It is also a city with lobbyists, all trying to influence the politicians and decision makers on behalf of their clients.
Lobbyists are often viewed negatively by the general public, but can lobbying be a good instrument in a democracy? Stéphane Desselas, president of our PRGN partner agency Athenora Consulting in Brussels, was interviewed on France 24 in a bilingual interview about the issue together with Isabelle Durant, MEP of the Group of the Greens and vice-president of the European Parliament.
“Lobbyists always promote a specific interest and at Athenora, we work for the sectors of public services and social economy. It is then up to the MEP’s to decide which specific subjects should be a part of the general interest”, Desselas said.
“Lobbying is a part of democracy, but it is not always democratic, since not all industries have the economic resources to access professional lobbyists. One solution could be public funds for companies and organisations with less money so that they could do lobbying for their interests as well. It might be difficult to put in place but it could represent an opportunity to create open access to lobbying”, he continued.
There is a voluntary register of lobbyists for increased transparency and a new code of conduct for lobbyists will be implemented. The register today contains around three-quarters of all lobbyists in Brussels.
“My agency, Athenora Consulting, was the first to join the voluntary register of lobbyists. The register should be mandatory, in order to ensure transparency and to show citizens that we have nothing to hide”.
Sound Public Relations and Athenora Consulting are both members of the PRGN – Public Relations Global Network.
Author: Anders Pettersson, PR Assistant at Sound Public Relations