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EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-s Transcript + Q&A
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EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-s Transcript + Q&A

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The European Transparency Register and EU lobby rules
Spending, representation and advocacy: what you can and cannot do
Case study of an effective and ethical interest representation

With Robert Mack: he became Chairman of Burson-Marsteller’s EMEA Public Affairs Practice in January, 2011. He was CEO of Burson-Marsteller Brussels from July 2007 to December, 2010. Author of the chapter on "EU Transparency and Ethics" in the book "How EU Institutions Work & How to Work with EU Institutions" (John Harper Publishing, London)

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  • 1. EU Lobbying, Ethics aEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do’s and Don’ts”Please note that the following transcript has been edited to make reading easier and may slightly differ from whatwas said in the webinar recording. Disclaimer: We aim to ensure a high level of accuracy, but the webinar and thetranscript are for information purposes only and they cannot be considered as legally binding.Speaker: Robert Mack (moderator: András Baneth)Robert Mack is the Chairman of Bbe familiar with Burson-Marsteller, they are one of the largest and the most professional publicaffairs companies in Brussels dealing withI am András Baneth, Director of the European Training Academy. Wedecision-making, EU regulatory affairs and related topics.coming up soon on Impact Assessment so if you are interested in any of these topicsto check our site.)Here I would pass the word to Robert and he will actually go into the presentation itself.enjoy, take notes and feel free to ask questions.Brussels and TransparencyThank you for your interest in this topic today andremainder of the hour. You should see on your screen now the sort of topics that we are gto be covering today. I’m going tohow Brussels has become so focused on transparencythink is a very, very good thing.We will look a little bit into Institutional Rules on Lobbyingon the EU Lobbying register. I am not gobut I will talk a little bit about the principleAnd then we will get into Institutional Codes of Conductbehaviour of politicians and officials inside the institutionsdo as lobbyists.And then a brief word on the point aboutsome conclusions for all of us practitionersMr. Santer, a French lady and her dentist: the story starts in 1999Our story starts maybe in 1999 with the Santerallegations of improper behaviourFrench woman, the CommissionerEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do’s and Don’ts”Please note that the following transcript has been edited to make reading easier and may slightly differ from whatDisclaimer: We aim to ensure a high level of accuracy, but the webinar and thetranscript are for information purposes only and they cannot be considered as legally binding.(moderator: András Baneth)Robert Mack is the Chairman of Burson-Marsteller’s EMEA Public Affairs practiceMarsteller, they are one of the largest and the most professional publicaffairs companies in Brussels dealing with a large scope of activities and policies in the EU aref the European Training Academy. We run training courses on EUmaking, EU regulatory affairs and related topics. (There’s an important seminarImpact Assessment so if you are interested in any of these topicsto Robert and he will actually go into the presentation itself.enjoy, take notes and feel free to ask questions. Thank you.ur interest in this topic today and for taking the time to be with us during theremainder of the hour. You should see on your screen now the sort of topics that we are ggoing to start by trying to give a little bit of historical backgrounde so focused on transparency which, to be very clear on theInstitutional Rules on Lobbying and particularly that focuses notablyon the EU Lobbying register. I am not going to go into nuts and bolts of how the register worksbut I will talk a little bit about the principles behind it.Institutional Codes of Conduct because they set requirementof politicians and officials inside the institutions which, of course, iAnd then a brief word on the point about Access to Documents and then trying to wrap upor all of us practitioners.Mr. Santer, a French lady and her dentist: the story starts in 1999Our story starts maybe in 1999 with the Santer Commission which had to resignbehaviour. It all had to do with a man from Luxembourg, Mr. Santer, aFrench woman, the Commissioner Edith Cresson and her dentist. I won’t go into theEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do’s and Don’ts”Please note that the following transcript has been edited to make reading easier and may slightly differ from whatDisclaimer: We aim to ensure a high level of accuracy, but the webinar and thePublic Affairs practice. As you mightMarsteller, they are one of the largest and the most professional publicpolicies in the EU arena.training courses on EUmportant seminarImpact Assessment so if you are interested in any of these topics, make sureto Robert and he will actually go into the presentation itself. Pleasethe time to be with us during theremainder of the hour. You should see on your screen now the sort of topics that we are goinghistorical background toto be very clear on the outside, Iand particularly that focuses notablygo into nuts and bolts of how the register worksrequirements on theof course, impacts what weand then trying to wrap upCommission which had to resign over issues andurg, Mr. Santer, aand her dentist. I won’t go into the
  • 2. EU Lobbying, Ethics abackground but it basically had to do with accusations of what can be calledcontracts and business to close allies who shoulThe important point is that it triggered a whole set of activities and reforms inside the EUinstitutions to ensure that they operate much more professionally and transparently today.Public service ethics since 1999You see on the next slide the kinds of things that have been done since 1999there has been an increased focus on ethical issues. There’s beendocuments; there have been a number of databases on consultative bodies and expwhich have been put out and indeed even in 1999, they established OLAF, the antiwhich has become increasingly well known.They have done a number of things to improveassessments. This is the work that goes on todayto try to make sure that they improve the way they consult with stakeholders about their policy.And of course this is somethingof Commission staff.Stakeholder consultationsBut before I go forth, I think it is important to mention in particularly this idea of stakeholderconsultation because what we are talking about here,institutions gain information from a wide range of external stakeholdersinformation to make good policy decisions and indeed thethink it is article 11 if memory servesstakeholders when they form policyimpact a wide range of stakeholders.In general, what we are talking about here today isthing for policy development andsystem.Institutional Rules on LobbyingWhat I’d like to do now is take a few minutes to talk about the Institutional Rules on Lobbying.If you see on the slide, in November 2005, the European Commission launchedbecome known as the European Transparency Initiativereally on three areas.1. One was further information onclear how community funds are spent.2. The second was professional ethics within the EU institutions and tha little bit later today.EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sit basically had to do with accusations of what can be called Nepotismcontracts and business to close allies who shouldn’t have that kind of thing.it triggered a whole set of activities and reforms inside the EUinstitutions to ensure that they operate much more professionally and transparently today.Public service ethics since 1999see on the next slide the kinds of things that have been done since 1999: duringincreased focus on ethical issues. There’s been work on access todocuments; there have been a number of databases on consultative bodies and expwhich have been put out and indeed even in 1999, they established OLAF, the antiwhich has become increasingly well known.They have done a number of things to improve stakeholder consultationwork that goes on today in fact as the EU and the institutions continueto try to make sure that they improve the way they consult with stakeholders about their policy.And of course this is something we’ll come on too a little bit later, Codes related toBut before I go forth, I think it is important to mention in particularly this idea of stakeholderwhat we are talking about here, lobbying, is a wayin information from a wide range of external stakeholders. Tinformation to make good policy decisions and indeed the Treaty on European Union obliges (Ithink it is article 11 if memory serves me well) obliges the institutions to seek the input ofthey form policy on the basis of having an understanding of howimpact a wide range of stakeholders.we are talking about here today is the ethical standards of lobbthing for policy development and for the democratic system and it needs a strong ruleInstitutional Rules on LobbyingWhat I’d like to do now is take a few minutes to talk about the Institutional Rules on Lobbying.ee on the slide, in November 2005, the European Commission launchedEuropean Transparency Initiative. What they decided to do is to focusfurther information on the management of community funds, so making it veryclear how community funds are spent.The second was professional ethics within the EU institutions and the one we’ll comeNepotism or givingit triggered a whole set of activities and reforms inside the EUinstitutions to ensure that they operate much more professionally and transparently today.: during this periodwork on access todocuments; there have been a number of databases on consultative bodies and expert groupswhich have been put out and indeed even in 1999, they established OLAF, the anti-fraud officeconsultations and impactas the EU and the institutions continueto try to make sure that they improve the way they consult with stakeholders about their policy.later, Codes related to behaviourBut before I go forth, I think it is important to mention in particularly this idea of stakeholderis a way by which EU. They need thatEuropean Union obliges (I) obliges the institutions to seek the input ofbasis of having an understanding of how it mayobbying. It’s a gooda strong rule-basedWhat I’d like to do now is take a few minutes to talk about the Institutional Rules on Lobbying.ee on the slide, in November 2005, the European Commission launched what has. What they decided to do is to focusso making it veryone we’ll come back to
  • 3. EU Lobbying, Ethics a3. The third was the frameworknow.The European Transparency InitiativeThe European Transparency Initiative led to the establishmentknown as the Commission’s RegisterThere are few points to make about this. This is basically a process of voluntary registration butit was widely encouraged by the Commission. While it treats lobbyists in different categories,they have slightly different steps they have to goinformation, different ways to share that information.The definition of "lobbying"The common theme between all the differlobbying and the level of resourcedifferent for different categorieshow to register, but it is important to understand that there’s a verySo basically lobbying has been defined asEuropean policy formation or decision making processeschannel or medium it is using.So the Commission tried to cast the netdebate closely, you maybe recognisome updates following the first yethe current definition as it was clarified.Code of conduct of EU lobbyistsWhen participants in the register jointhat they will behave ethically. WThe other important point to rememberdefinition of "what is lobbying"then differences on how individual lobbyist go aboutOne of things I always believe in very strongly,in favour of, is the mandatory registermandatory register is that it maketo all people and everybody has to comply with them. That’s not really where we are today andagain that could be a debate for another day.EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sThe third was the framework rules for lobbyists. That’s really where we are going toEuropean Transparency InitiativeThe European Transparency Initiative led to the establishment, in June 2008,known as the Commission’s Register of Interest Representatives.are few points to make about this. This is basically a process of voluntary registration butwas widely encouraged by the Commission. While it treats lobbyists in different categories,they have slightly different steps they have to go through to register, different kinds ofto share that information.The definition of "lobbying"The common theme between all the different categories is the importance oflobbying and the level of resources that are being deployed. The nuts and boltsdifferent for different categories and the point of today is not to go into the nuts and bolts ofbut it is important to understand that there’s a very wide definitionobbying has been defined as "actions initiated with the aim of influencingEuropean policy formation or decision making processes", irrespective of the communicationto cast the net very wide. For those of you who have followed thisdebate closely, you maybe recognise that definition is the newer one that was modified afterthe first year of the implementation of the register, so I didion as it was clarified.Code of conduct of EU lobbyistsregister join, they do have to agree to the Code of Cthat they will behave ethically. We’ll come back to the Code of Conduct in a minute.he other important point to remember of the Registry is that the rules including that very widehave been intentionally vague. This is I think hasindividual lobbyist go about registration, which can be confusing.One of things I always believe in very strongly, and Burson-Marsteller has actually always beenmandatory register. But in addition to that, I think one of the reasons formakes sure the rules are very clear, they applied equally and fairlypeople and everybody has to comply with them. That’s not really where we are today andagain that could be a debate for another day.That’s really where we are going to startof what becameare few points to make about this. This is basically a process of voluntary registration butwas widely encouraged by the Commission. While it treats lobbyists in different categories,different kinds ofent categories is the importance of knowing who ishe nuts and bolts are a littlenot to go into the nuts and bolts ofwide definition of lobbying.actions initiated with the aim of influencingirrespective of the communicationhave followed thisthat was modified afterso I did want to useConduct that saysonduct in a minute.the Registry is that the rules including that very widehas caused sincecan be confusing.has actually always beenut in addition to that, I think one of the reasons for asure the rules are very clear, they applied equally and fairlypeople and everybody has to comply with them. That’s not really where we are today and
  • 4. EU Lobbying, Ethics aLobbying and the European ParliamenThe other point to make is that on the side of the European Parliament, going back as far as1996, they had a rule about dealing with lobbyistahead of the game when you comparedTheir goal was to really have a very openParliament, let them be able to observe the Parliament’s committeeskeep a list of the people who choose to availParliament. Then, in exchange for being able to do that, they would have to complyrules about basic principles, about good ethical interaction with the Institution.Joint Transparency RegisterThen in June 2011, we got to where we aJoint Transparency Register between both the Commission and the European Parliament so itapplies collectively to the two Institutions.Registration is required for access to the European ParliamentEuropean Parliament so in this sense what was once considered a voluntaryconsidered to become quasi mandatoryEuropean Parliament on a regular basis, a badge twhen you want and you don’t have to sign in each time. You have to be registered to have that.It also did a number of things to address problems from the old register. Again, I thinka little bit too specific for this discussproblems and that efforts have been madeout and make the register function more effectively.Ad hoc groups and coalitionsOne of the points I think is important tobroadly speaking a few issues havegroups and coalitions.When you set up an ad hoc groupof interested parties together to create a coalition or group of some kind of specific issue, it isimportant to know that thoseindividual as the responsible party for those.That’s an important thing and I think there’s nothing wrongfor any number of reasons it is important and sometimes necessary to bring together interestin a way that differs from a sort ofgroup of like-minded individuals or sometimes even a bigger coalition of many associations orEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sLobbying and the European ParliamentThe other point to make is that on the side of the European Parliament, going back as far as1996, they had a rule about dealing with lobbyists and in fact the EP therefore was pretty farahead of the game when you compared them to the Commission.heir goal was to really have a very open Parliament where they would let people into theParliament, let them be able to observe the Parliament’s committees and other business andpeople who choose to avail themselves of that right of acexchange for being able to do that, they would have to comply, about good ethical interaction with the Institution.Joint Transparency RegisterThen in June 2011, we got to where we are basically today where there is an establishment of aJoint Transparency Register between both the Commission and the European Parliament so itapplies collectively to the two Institutions.Registration is required for access to the European Parliament, a badge for going into theEuropean Parliament so in this sense what was once considered a voluntary registerquasi mandatory in the sense that in order to have access to thea regular basis, a badge that allows you the ability to go in more or lessand you don’t have to sign in each time. You have to be registered to have that.It also did a number of things to address problems from the old register. Again, I thinkbit too specific for this discussion today but it is important to understand that there wereproblems and that efforts have been made and are continuing to be made to try and sort thisout and make the register function more effectively.coalitionsOne of the points I think is important to underline here (because I think it is one area wherehave come up about transparent lobbying)is the issue of ad hocWhen you set up an ad hoc group or coalition on a specific issue or is set up to bring a handfulof interested parties together to create a coalition or group of some kind of specific issue, it isimportant to know that those groups should be registered and that you should name andual as the responsible party for those.That’s an important thing and I think there’s nothing wrong with having these groups becausefor any number of reasons it is important and sometimes necessary to bring together interestsort of standard trade association or standard NGOsminded individuals or sometimes even a bigger coalition of many associations orThe other point to make is that on the side of the European Parliament, going back as far asthe EP therefore was pretty fararliament where they would let people into theand other business andof that right of access to theexchange for being able to do that, they would have to comply with somere basically today where there is an establishment of aJoint Transparency Register between both the Commission and the European Parliament so it, a badge for going into theregister has beenorder to have access to thehat allows you the ability to go in more or lessand you don’t have to sign in each time. You have to be registered to have that.It also did a number of things to address problems from the old register. Again, I think it may bebut it is important to understand that there wereand are continuing to be made to try and sort thisse I think it is one area wherethe issue of ad hocto bring a handfulof interested parties together to create a coalition or group of some kind of specific issue, it isand that you should name anhaving these groups becausefor any number of reasons it is important and sometimes necessary to bring together interestss, a more narrowminded individuals or sometimes even a bigger coalition of many associations or
  • 5. EU Lobbying, Ethics aNGOs want to get together to do somethingset up, they are transparent and that they also participate in theCommon code of conduct and Joint Register SecretariatThe other two new features of the Joint Register is the establishment of the common code ofconduct and also the establishment of the Joint Register Secretariatfocused on enforcement and makesparticipate in the Register.On the next slide, you see the Code of Conduct of the Joint Transparensimilar to the earlier Codes of Conduct that existed and it talks about the range of activities thatyou can and cannot have, basichow you identify yourself, what kinyou can do about employment, how they’ve been doing work inside the EU institutions andthat kind of thing.It is easily accessible online so you can have a look at it in more detail. The importantknow that is now has replaced the old Code of Conduct in the European Parliament and appliesboth to the Commission and the Parliament.Question: What do you mean by saying thatvague?Thank you for that question. It is a very goodEuropean Commission established first registerduplicated in the new register), thow people should record financial information or exactly how they should describe variouscomponents of what they put in there in the registration.And in fact, if you spend a little time goithere’s a great variation in the way in which individual registeredThe reason that there’s a great variance inaren’t very clear in specific guidelines about what youIt also goes back to the broad definition of lobbying that Iof questions about what lobbying really is. In fact, the Commissiontaken up in the agreement between the Commission and Parliament was really to cast the netas widely as possible.So anything you do to influence EU institutionofficials or elected politicians or whethernewspaper or on a website, or whateverlobbying.EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sNGOs want to get together to do something. It is important that when those kinds of groups arthey are transparent and that they also participate in the Register.Common code of conduct and Joint Register SecretariatThe other two new features of the Joint Register is the establishment of the common code ofestablishment of the Joint Register Secretariat. This principle moremakes sure that people are complying with the rules as theyOn the next slide, you see the Code of Conduct of the Joint Transparency Register. It is verysimilar to the earlier Codes of Conduct that existed and it talks about the range of activities thatbasically an ethical interaction with the institution that talks abouthow you identify yourself, what kinds of ways you can interact with the various people, wyou can do about employment, how they’ve been doing work inside the EU institutions andIt is easily accessible online so you can have a look at it in more detail. The importantknow that is now has replaced the old Code of Conduct in the European Parliament and appliesboth to the Commission and the Parliament.What do you mean by saying that EU lobbying rules intentionallyThank you for that question. It is a very good one. What I mean to say is that when theEuropean Commission established first register (and the main features of that), they didn’t spend a lot of time being very clear about exactlyhow people should record financial information or exactly how they should describe variouscomponents of what they put in there in the registration.And in fact, if you spend a little time going through the listings in the Registry, yway in which individual registered organisations have responded.The reason that there’s a great variance in the way people have responded is because theyaren’t very clear in specific guidelines about what you have to do to reply and togoes back to the broad definition of lobbying that I referred to, that couldof questions about what lobbying really is. In fact, the Commission’s intention in which it wasreement between the Commission and Parliament was really to cast the netSo anything you do to influence EU institutions, whether it be in a face-to-face meetingofficials or elected politicians or whether it be staging an event or putting an ad in thewhatever it happens to be, all these things are considered to bet is important that when those kinds of groups areThe other two new features of the Joint Register is the establishment of the common code ofhis principle moresure that people are complying with the rules as theycy Register. It is verysimilar to the earlier Codes of Conduct that existed and it talks about the range of activities thatethical interaction with the institution that talks aboutyou can interact with the various people, whatyou can do about employment, how they’ve been doing work inside the EU institutions andIt is easily accessible online so you can have a look at it in more detail. The important point is toknow that is now has replaced the old Code of Conduct in the European Parliament and appliesEU lobbying rules intentionally. What I mean to say is that when theand the main features of that were obviouslyclear about exactlyhow people should record financial information or exactly how they should describe variousegistry, you will sees have responded.way people have responded is because theyto fill that in.that could rage a numberintention in which it wasreement between the Commission and Parliament was really to cast the netface meeting witht or putting an ad in thehappens to be, all these things are considered to be
  • 6. EU Lobbying, Ethics aSo the Commission realised pretty early on they didn’tslope trying to regulate all these stuff. They just kind oftrying to do to influence should be considered lobbying for the purposes of registerparticularly for the purpose of thepath of trying to make the rules very specific. In some casespeople go about registering is very different.Institutional Codes of ConductThe point I’d like to make here is that clearly the Commission started firstplace the Register, really focusing on the conduct andthe more recent years they’ve spentCodes of Conduct for people workingI think this is very good because I thiproblems with the behaviour of what I would call the sort oftransparent lobbying communityThere have been a few cases thatexample the Sunday Times scandalprocess in the European Parliament:journalists approached some Mlobbyist whatsoever). I think one of the conclusions ofwas that we need to pay very careful attention to actualthe Institutions themselves.Code of Conduct for European CommissionersSo I want to touch on three points here. The first is the Code of Conduct for EuropeanCommissioners. I should also make thehave to understand what are the obligations and rules that apply to people inside theInstitutions because that impacts the way we can do our businessA lot of this is common sense, a lot of these goes to the issue of geneit is important to understand the details, understand the debates inside the EU institutions sothat we make sure that we can respect those rules but also that we understand the pressuresthat they are feeling inside the InstiThe Code of Conduct for European Commissioners has been in place for a while but was revisedin 2011 and it is based on Article 245 in one of the EU Treaty,of European Commissioners.It makes another point, whichcannot engage in any other professional activity. They canEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sd pretty early on they didn’t want to try and get in theall these stuff. They just kind of wanted to say “anything that you aretrying to do to influence should be considered lobbying for the purposes of registerthe financial declaration and therefore, they didn’t go down trules very specific. In some cases, that has meant thatpeople go about registering is very different.Institutional Codes of ConductThe point I’d like to make here is that clearly the Commission started first with trying to put inreally focusing on the conduct and behaviour of all of us, the lobbyistspent a little bit more time going back and looking at the issue ofonduct for people working inside the Institutions.I think this is very good because I think if we are honest, there haven’t been thatof what I would call the sort of “well established ethical andtransparent lobbying community” in Brussels.that have gotten a lot of attention and publicity. Iexample the Sunday Times scandal a couple of years ago that triggered a whole reflectioncess in the European Parliament: what basically happened was that soms approached some Members in the European Parliament (not involving any realI think one of the conclusions of what came after that particular eventthat we need to pay very careful attention to actual behaviour of the people working insideConduct for European CommissionersSo I want to touch on three points here. The first is the Code of Conduct for EuropeanI should also make the general point that for us collectively aunderstand what are the obligations and rules that apply to people inside theInstitutions because that impacts the way we can do our business.A lot of this is common sense, a lot of these goes to the issue of general ethical conduct but stillit is important to understand the details, understand the debates inside the EU institutions sothat we make sure that we can respect those rules but also that we understand the pressuresthat they are feeling inside the Institutions.The Code of Conduct for European Commissioners has been in place for a while but was revisedle 245 in one of the EU Treaty, which sets out thewhich I think seem pretty obvious, is that European Commissionersother professional activity. They can hold honorary post and be politicallyin the sort of slipperyanything that you aretrying to do to influence should be considered lobbying for the purposes of register” andfinancial declaration and therefore, they didn’t go down thethat the way thatith trying to put inof all of us, the lobbyists anda little bit more time going back and looking at the issue of’t been that many realwell established ethical andattention and publicity. If you take fora whole reflectionsome undercovernot involving any realcame after that particular eventof the people working insideSo I want to touch on three points here. The first is the Code of Conduct for Europeancollectively as lobbyists, weunderstand what are the obligations and rules that apply to people inside theral ethical conduct but stillit is important to understand the details, understand the debates inside the EU institutions sothat we make sure that we can respect those rules but also that we understand the pressuresThe Code of Conduct for European Commissioners has been in place for a while but was revisedsets out the responsibilitiesis that European Commissionershold honorary post and be politically
  • 7. EU Lobbying, Ethics aactive within their political partiesnumber of conditions about how they do that.Declaration of InterestsIt does a lot in terms of requiring declarations of interest. One declaration that they have tis about all their activities over the last ten years. There’s also probablyof declaration: their financial interestsome professional activity which could be deemed to create ethical chaldeclare it.Cooling off period after European CIt talks about the obligations ofthey can and cannot do afterwardsperiod”. They should not take onthey were responsible for. And onethat they cannot accept a gift if the value is greater thanhospitality, but I’ll come on to do that a little bit more specifically in the next slide.Guidelines on Gifts and HospitalityThe Commission has also recently issuedtake on board a number of principlesEuropean Communities.They come from a starting pointfor a few issues, and they define the gift as beingcan be free participation in events or other advantages such as travel.And perhaps the most interestingissue about hospitality, about thethey put in some place some principles that if the value of the gift including hospitality is lessthan €50 then it’s considered to be automatically accepted. The Commission doesn’t want toget into the game of sort of having to approve every littleThe approval is required if it is greater thanvalue, the gift is deemed to be not allowedthe way up to the €150 level, appropriate hospitality is presumed to be grantedCommission does not get in the business of preis important to understand the generor an appropriate meeting that involves providing some nourishment to an official or politicianis not considered inappropriate.EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sactive within their political parties, although particularly with the latter point there arenumber of conditions about how they do that.It does a lot in terms of requiring declarations of interest. One declaration that they have tthe last ten years. There’s also probably a moretheir financial interest, which also includes their spouses, so if their spouse hassome professional activity which could be deemed to create ethical challengesCooling off period after European Commissioners’ mandateIt talks about the obligations of European Commissioners at the end of their mandatethey can and cannot do afterwards, notably the conditions about an 18 monthhey should not take on certain assignments; let’s say to lobby directlyAnd one which could potentially have a more practical invocation iscannot accept a gift if the value is greater than €150 and this also has to do with thebut I’ll come on to do that a little bit more specifically in the next slide.Guidelines on Gifts and Hospitalityhe Commission has also recently issued “Guidelines on Gifts and Hospitality”. These guidelinestake on board a number of principles that are already in place in the Staff Regulations of theThey come from a starting point of “basically nothing is allowed”, no gifts are allowed exceptand they define the gift as being either money, or it can be a physcan be free participation in events or other advantages such as travel.And perhaps the most interesting (and probably the most common) topic I thinkissue about hospitality, about the “business lunch” so to speak. And so what they’ve done isthey put in some place some principles that if the value of the gift including hospitality is less50 then it’s considered to be automatically accepted. The Commission doesn’t want tot of having to approve every little lunch or whatever.The approval is required if it is greater than €50 value but less than 150, and if it is overnot allowed. Within this context, and that should be cleared all150 level, appropriate hospitality is presumed to be grantedin the business of pre-approving every lunch somebody hasis important to understand the general guidelines that are in place but a normal bor an appropriate meeting that involves providing some nourishment to an official or politiciannot considered inappropriate.ter point there are aIt does a lot in terms of requiring declarations of interest. One declaration that they have to doa more well-known sortso if their spouse haslenges, they have tothe end of their mandate: whatnotably the conditions about an 18 months cooling offdirectly the servicescould potentially have a more practical invocation is150 and this also has to do with thebut I’ll come on to do that a little bit more specifically in the next slide.. These guidelinesplace in the Staff Regulations of the, no gifts are allowed exceptphysical object, it) topic I think is the wholeso to speak. And so what they’ve done isthey put in some place some principles that if the value of the gift including hospitality is less50 then it’s considered to be automatically accepted. The Commission doesn’t want toand if it is over €150and that should be cleared all150 level, appropriate hospitality is presumed to be granted. Thesomebody has, and so itbut a normal business lunchor an appropriate meeting that involves providing some nourishment to an official or politician
  • 8. EU Lobbying, Ethics aThat being said, you can encounter I think more strict rules and in fact, this has happened to meon a number of occasions where you encounter an official working in the Institutions who willfor whatever reason, will just simply sayjust not something I do.’ So they might gosomething you have to keep an eye out for.Missions and guest invitationsIt’s also important to know that there’s another general principleabout when Commission officials can go onspeak at the European meeting of your tacceptable to do, that Commisshas to be met is whether or not thand responsibilities. And so that is really the test to bear in mind.Now the other priority made is that most of these rulRegulations of the EU so that mincluding EP assistants, who now fall under the Staff RQuestion: should Europeanoff period of 3 years before working for anI think this is an issue that requires careful consideration.organisation that employs people with lots of different levelif you were a junior employee or traineefind a job outside the Commission. And I think you can even have younger professionalswhom it doesn’t make sense to putI think that for senior levels of theknow that the Commission has its own system for makingbetween the subsequent employment and whatcourse there’s the issue of European CommissionI think this is a perfectly valid area of discussion. I don’t have a view on exactly what thetimeline should be. I mean we,hiring people or working with people that come out at those kinds of positions. I guess in termsof the specific length, that’s something thatmore detail.Code of Conduct for the Members of the European ParliamentI guess we now go on to the Code of Conduct forNow, a little earlier there was the Sunday Times scandal, I think that was in 2010 (if memoryserves me well) and as a result to thatEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-syou can encounter I think more strict rules and in fact, this has happened to mef occasions where you encounter an official working in the Institutions who willwill just simply say ‘No, I don’t do lunches with outside representatives. It’sSo they might go farther than what the rules strictly requiresomething you have to keep an eye out for.Missions and guest invitationsIt’s also important to know that there’s another general principle (and perhaps more commonabout when Commission officials can go on “mission”. If you invite a Commission official tot the European meeting of your trade association for example which mightto do, that Commission official has to get approval for that and the basic test thathas to be met is whether or not the mission is “useful to the discharge of the official’s dutiesand responsibilities. And so that is really the test to bear in mind.e is that most of these rules are somehow outlined in the Staffegulations of the EU so that means they are also relevant to Europeanincluding EP assistants, who now fall under the Staff Regulations of the EU.European Commission officials be required to have a coolingoff period of 3 years before working for an organisation they had contacts with?I think this is an issue that requires careful consideration. The European Commission is anthat employs people with lots of different levels and staff. I think we all agree thatemployee or trainee, you probably shouldn’t have to wait three yearsCommission. And I think you can even have younger professionalswhom it doesn’t make sense to put restrictions on their future employment.the Commission, it’s appropriate to have some rules in place. ICommission has its own system for making sure that there aren’t conflictsemployment and what an official has been doing previously. Tcourse there’s the issue of European Commissioners, something which we’ve looked atvalid area of discussion. I don’t have a view on exactly what the, at Burson-Marsteller, have our own restrictions when we’rehiring people or working with people that come out at those kinds of positions. I guess in terms, that’s something that really needs to be debated and talked about int for the Members of the European ParliamentI guess we now go on to the Code of Conduct for the Members of the European Parliament.Now, a little earlier there was the Sunday Times scandal, I think that was in 2010 (if memorylt to that, there was a group set up under the Chairmanship of theyou can encounter I think more strict rules and in fact, this has happened to mef occasions where you encounter an official working in the Institutions who will,‘No, I don’t do lunches with outside representatives. It’sstrictly require. So that isand perhaps more common)invite a Commission official torade association for example which might be perfectlyfor that and the basic test thatuseful to the discharge of the official’s duties”es are somehow outlined in the Staffuropean Parliament staffbe required to have a coolingorganisation they had contacts with?he European Commission is anand staff. I think we all agree that, you probably shouldn’t have to wait three years toCommission. And I think you can even have younger professionals forCommission, it’s appropriate to have some rules in place. Ithat there aren’t conflictsicial has been doing previously. Then ofwhich we’ve looked at already.valid area of discussion. I don’t have a view on exactly what thehave our own restrictions when we’rehiring people or working with people that come out at those kinds of positions. I guess in termsreally needs to be debated and talked about inMembers of the European Parliament.Now, a little earlier there was the Sunday Times scandal, I think that was in 2010 (if memorythere was a group set up under the Chairmanship of the
  • 9. EU Lobbying, Ethics athen President of the European Parliament, Mr.of internal consultation and indeed some consultaable to participate in, and eventuallyEuropean Parliament.This Code of Conduct lays out some sort of general principleimposes a declaration of financial interest of thebig issue that I recall being discussed quite a bit during the consultative period is the issueabout other remunerated activity. TParliament should have no other remunsome low levels of remunerated activity orof direct conflict with the mandate ofThat’s really the motto where theyremunerated activity if it’s low levelper year in terms of revenue to the MTheir concern there was really aboutof the European Parliament and I still wantcareer as a doctor, then I should be able to do thatThe Parliament’s rulesSo people focused on a number of different things that could come upand so they preserve that rightrestrictions in terms of ethical, appropriateness and conflict of interest.The other point is that (and we’ve seenParliament cannot accept a gift if its value is greater thanincludes the business lunch or business dinner, whatever youlittle bit of debate about this and the implementing measures just were adoptednow clearly in place.Attending events, former Members of the European Parliament and other rulesTwo other interesting points: now Members of the European Parliamentevents that they attend or they willConduct for Members of the European Parliament, former Mthe benefits that are normally given to former Mthink makes perfect sense because if you’reyou get into the Parliament on the basis of that status, you shouldn’t be able to use that sort ofaccess and lobby with former colleagues.EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sthen President of the European Parliament, Mr. Bužek. They got together and theand indeed some consultation with external stakeholders that Iin, and eventually they came out with a Code of Conduct for Membershis Code of Conduct lays out some sort of general principles of integrity anddeclaration of financial interest of the Members of the European Parliament and abig issue that I recall being discussed quite a bit during the consultative period is the issuebout other remunerated activity. There are some who are saying that the EuropeanParliament should have no other remunerated activity, others were saying that it should besome low levels of remunerated activity or they should be allowed as long as they’re not in sortof direct conflict with the mandate of an MEP.they seem to have come down now and said you can have otherremunerated activity if it’s low level, it doesn’t have to be declared. If it’s greater thanear in terms of revenue to the Member, then it needs to be declared.Their concern there was really about, for example, if I’m a doctor who has become a Memberean Parliament and I still want do some things that are related to my previouscareer as a doctor, then I should be able to do that… or if you are an author, for instanceple focused on a number of different things that could come up, that could beand so they preserve that right, but they are trying to put it in a framework of some clearrestrictions in terms of ethical, appropriateness and conflict of interest.we’ve seen this number before) the Members of the Europeant if its value is greater than €150. This includes hospitality;includes the business lunch or business dinner, whatever you would like to call it.little bit of debate about this and the implementing measures just were adoptedAttending events, former Members of the European Parliament and other rulesnow Members of the European Parliament have toor they will, I think, from the 1stof July. Also mentionedhe European Parliament, former Members who lobbyt are normally given to former Members, including the access badgeecause if you’re former Member of the European Parliament, thenyou get into the Parliament on the basis of that status, you shouldn’t be able to use that sort ofand lobby with former colleagues.hey got together and there was a lottion with external stakeholders that I wasthey came out with a Code of Conduct for Members of theintegrity and honesty. Itof the European Parliament and abig issue that I recall being discussed quite a bit during the consultative period is the issuehere are some who are saying that the Europeanerated activity, others were saying that it should beshould be allowed as long as they’re not in sortnow and said you can have others greater than €5000if I’m a doctor who has become a Memberrelated to my previousif you are an author, for instance.that could be legitimatebut they are trying to put it in a framework of some clearthe Members of the European150. This includes hospitality; thiscall it. There was alittle bit of debate about this and the implementing measures just were adopted, but that isAttending events, former Members of the European Parliament and other ruleshave to declare allAlso mentioned in the Code ofembers who lobby, have to give upincluding the access badge. This Iember of the European Parliament, thenyou get into the Parliament on the basis of that status, you shouldn’t be able to use that sort of
  • 10. EU Lobbying, Ethics aQuestion: MEPs themselves don’t have to declare who they meet with.about bilateral meetings? Doesn’t this create a grey area for potentially abusivecontacts?Well you’re absolutely right that the members don’t have to declare every meeting that theytake and this was a part of theconsultation with the Parliament.The bottom line is that Members of the European Parliament feelrepresentatives deserve a role if somebody wants to be able to meet with them privately aboutsomething for whatever reason, then they should be able to doEuropean Parliament, should be able to have a private meetingit does not require that they list every meeting.That being said, there is a differenceWhat I think is the key point for all of us lobbyists is that you have to be aware that whatactually happens in practice is thatoften go beyond what is required by the rulespolitical groups list meetings that they have with stakeholders. It’s moredifferent national delegations thanyou need to be aware of is that there is a high levelthem to list all those meetings. But mAccess to DocumentsNow moving on to the subject Access to Documents. I don’tbut it is important that if you’re going toefforts to make your case on an issue, you should know that the current rules ondocuments allow just about anyoneform of written communication received by an EU Institutionsort of documents you send in when you’re lobbying.Absolute and relative exceptionNow, there are some exceptions to this,with things like public security, defencmonetary or economic policy, and those kinds of thingsindividual.And then there are also a number ofdenied if there is an overridingcommercial interest such as intellectual property rights, implication of legal rights or legalproceedings, or if it would in some other way undermineEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sMEPs themselves don’t have to declare who they meet with.lateral meetings? Doesn’t this create a grey area for potentially abusiveWell you’re absolutely right that the members don’t have to declare every meeting that theypart of the points I remember being discussed when I was involvedParliament.The bottom line is that Members of the European Parliament feel thatif somebody wants to be able to meet with them privately aboutver reason, then they should be able to do. They, as a Member of theshould be able to have a private meeting, which is a legitimate interest sodoes not require that they list every meeting.fference between what is required and what is done in practicefor all of us lobbyists is that you have to be aware that whatis that any individual Member of the European Parliament canat is required by the rules, and many MEPs will list who they meet. Manypolitical groups list meetings that they have with stakeholders. It’s morethan within political groups, but it’s starting to happenis that there is a high level of transparency. Well, it’s not required forBut many of them actually choose to do so.Now moving on to the subject Access to Documents. I don’t want to go into great detail heres important that if you’re going to send information into EU Institutionon an issue, you should know that the current rules onjust about anyone to request information on just about anythingform of written communication received by an EU Institution. This could include emails or anywhen you’re lobbying.Absolute and relative exceptionsthere are some exceptions to this, you know there are the absolute exception, defence and military matters, international relations, financialand those kinds of things, as well as privacy and integrity of thealso a number of relative exceptions, and the relative exceptionoverriding public interest and exposure, and this includesintellectual property rights, implication of legal rights or legalwould in some other way undermine the EU decision-making processes.MEPs themselves don’t have to declare who they meet with. Whatlateral meetings? Doesn’t this create a grey area for potentially abusiveWell you’re absolutely right that the members don’t have to declare every meeting that theywhen I was involved in athat their electedif somebody wants to be able to meet with them privately aboutas a Member of thelegitimate interest sodone in practice.for all of us lobbyists is that you have to be aware that whatany individual Member of the European Parliament canand many MEPs will list who they meet. Manypolitical groups list meetings that they have with stakeholders. It’s more often done bybut it’s starting to happen. So whatof transparency. Well, it’s not required forgo into great detail heresend information into EU Institutions as part of youron an issue, you should know that the current rules on access tojust about anything covering anycould include emails or anyexceptions that deale and military matters, international relations, financial,l as privacy and integrity of theand the relative exception has to beincludes things likeintellectual property rights, implication of legal rights or legalmaking processes.
  • 11. EU Lobbying, Ethics aConfidentialityIf you are submitting information to the EU Institutions, you need to be aware that even if youthink you got their absolute agreement to keep certain information confidential, it has to reallyfit in with the conditions of the access to documents regulatifor the institutions to not allow that informationIf you are the submitting partyThat being said, for you as the submitting party, if the information you shareinstitution is subject to an ‘access to documentsexplain why you think it shouldn’t be shared or to say that you are probably happy for itshared. But if you are going to make a case why itthat meets the specific criteria in that legislation.Question: when MEPs meetattend, is it a kind of list that is publicly available and if it is not, do you think itshould be?My understanding about this new idea2013) that they agreed, is about listing all the events thatthat it is intended to be public. I’m not quiteto be a centralized list or if it’swebsites and share, but in any case, the principle is going toto be publicly available.Question: Regarding access to documents,for information is handled?Let’s see. The access to documents regulations sets out specific deadlines and I think the firstdeadline is something like two or threethem to ask to extend that by little bit and usually they do so because they have rather highlevel of demands and they’ve increased the staff to do this but stillsuch requests.Key Conclusions for the EU Public AffairsI just wanted to draw a few conclusions for all of us who are working as lobbyists and I thinkthis really summarizes things thatTransparent behaviour is nonThe first is that transparent behaviourlobbyist for 21 years and clearlytransparent over that timeframe and there’s much greater expectation for transparentbehaviour and simply, as I said, on the slideEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sIf you are submitting information to the EU Institutions, you need to be aware that even if youthink you got their absolute agreement to keep certain information confidential, it has to reallyaccess to documents regulation: if it doesn’t, then it will be hardthat information to be shared if a third party requested it.If you are the submitting partyyou as the submitting party, if the information you shareaccess to documents’ request, you will get the opportunity toexplain why you think it shouldn’t be shared or to say that you are probably happy for itmake a case why it shouldn’t be, then you needthat meets the specific criteria in that legislation.meet someone or whether there are events that theyattend, is it a kind of list that is publicly available and if it is not, do you think itthis new idea, which I think it was just literally last weekis about listing all the events that the MEPs attend. My understanding isthat it is intended to be public. I’m not quite sure yet exactly how it’s going to work, if it’s goif it’s something that MEPs are just expected to put on their ownany case, the principle is going to be that this information is intendedQuestion: Regarding access to documents, what is the time in which a requefor information is handled?he access to documents regulations sets out specific deadlines and I think the firstdeadline is something like two or three weeks (in fact, 15 days). There’s an opportunity forthem to ask to extend that by little bit and usually they do so because they have rather highlevel of demands and they’ve increased the staff to do this but still there is quite a number ofEU Public Affairs Practitionerjust wanted to draw a few conclusions for all of us who are working as lobbyists and I thinkthis really summarizes things that have been said, so I run through them quickly.ur is non-negotiablebehaviour is non-negotiable. I’ve been working in Brussels asand clearly, in my view, things have become much, much moretransparent over that timeframe and there’s much greater expectation for transparenton the slide, it is non-negotiable.If you are submitting information to the EU Institutions, you need to be aware that even if youthink you got their absolute agreement to keep certain information confidential, it has to reallyif it doesn’t, then it will be hardto be shared if a third party requested it.you as the submitting party, if the information you share with therequest, you will get the opportunity toexplain why you think it shouldn’t be shared or to say that you are probably happy for it to beto do so in a wayevents that theyattend, is it a kind of list that is publicly available and if it is not, do you think itwhich I think it was just literally last week (end of AprilMEPs attend. My understanding iswork, if it’s goingsomething that MEPs are just expected to put on their ownbe that this information is intendedhat is the time in which a requesthe access to documents regulations sets out specific deadlines and I think the firsthere’s an opportunity forthem to ask to extend that by little bit and usually they do so because they have rather highquite a number ofjust wanted to draw a few conclusions for all of us who are working as lobbyists and I thinkso I run through them quickly.working in Brussels asthings have become much, much moretransparent over that timeframe and there’s much greater expectation for transparent
  • 12. EU Lobbying, Ethics aRegistration of lobbyists, while technically voluntaryincreasingly believed that ethicalvoluntary register, the expectation is there. The Commissionpart of their review of the work of theclear. The behaviour of officials or Mbegin asking if you are registered when you are looking to get a meeting or have some sort ofcontact with them, so in fact as we’ve seen, there’sthrough the Codes of Conduct but also this is reallyWhat the European Commission does to improve staff ethicsEuropean Commission Vice Presidentthat they are trying to take to trainapproach them and what they should be doing. It is part ofgives for all the new joiners, but there’s a whole process inwho are already in place. While I thinknot happening everywhere. There is a great effort being made to really ensuredo more.Single standard, varying executionBut that does lead to the fact thatinstitutions. In fact, as I said earlier, you can even encounter more strict requirements amongstcertain officials who choose, for whatever personal reasonsinteract with lobbyist, so beware that if you think you understand the standard broadly, youmay still run into some situations where others behave differently than you may have expected.The issue that we’ve talked a bit about invitations to officials and I guess Members ofParliaments as well to conferences, site visits etc… they can be accepted butmuch depend, particularly in the case of Commission officialstheir responsibilities, so in some situationsinappropriate in others.Communication with and from EU institutionsWe’ve talked about the fact that increasingly the way you communicate, the way wecommunicate with the EU institutions is out therepublished, and things that you submit can be requested through access to documentsissue is about wanting to protect confidential informationassert in events for commercially sensitive information when yosure that you fall well within the guidelines.Never assume privacyThe last two points is that never assume privacy. As we talked about MEPspublish names of people they meet or the materials they reyou are not expecting: MEPs increasingly TEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-swhile technically voluntary, is expected. I think it is becomingincreasingly believed that ethical, transparent lobbyists will register and so even if it’s avoluntary register, the expectation is there. The Commission and the Parliament togetherwork of the Transparency Register, are looking for ways to make thatof officials or MEPs as they deal with lobbyists: I think increasingly they willbegin asking if you are registered when you are looking to get a meeting or have some sort ofso in fact as we’ve seen, there’s a greater focus on institutionalonduct but also this is really a key point.What the European Commission does to improve staff ethicsVice President Sefčovičhas outlined in a recent speech a number of stepsthat they are trying to take to train EU officials on how to deal with lobbyistwhat they should be doing. It is part of the training thatbut there’s a whole process in the program of training of ofhile I think it is everybody’s experience that it is notnot happening everywhere. There is a great effort being made to really ensureSingle standard, varying executionthat the standards of behaviour do very greatly within the EUinstitutions. In fact, as I said earlier, you can even encounter more strict requirements amongstfor whatever personal reasons, to be more careful how theyso beware that if you think you understand the standard broadly, youmay still run into some situations where others behave differently than you may have expected.The issue that we’ve talked a bit about invitations to officials and I guess Members ofliaments as well to conferences, site visits etc… they can be accepted butparticularly in the case of Commission officials, on the context, itsso in some situations can be perfectly appropriate but it could be deemedCommunication with and from EU institutionsWe’ve talked about the fact that increasingly the way you communicate, the way weinstitutions is out there. Responses to public conspublished, and things that you submit can be requested through access to documentswanting to protect confidential information, and it is something you have toassert in events for commercially sensitive information when you submit it. You need to makesure that you fall well within the guidelines.The last two points is that never assume privacy. As we talked about MEPs, some officials maypublish names of people they meet or the materials they receive, or they may do things thatnot expecting: MEPs increasingly Tweet about the meetings they had,ed. I think it is becomingwill register and so even if it’s aParliament together, asare looking for ways to make thatI think increasingly they willbegin asking if you are registered when you are looking to get a meeting or have some sort ofgreater focus on institutional behaviourhas outlined in a recent speech a number of stepshow to deal with lobbyists when theythe training that the Commissionprogram of training of officialss experience that it is not uniform andthat the officialsvery greatly within the EUinstitutions. In fact, as I said earlier, you can even encounter more strict requirements amongstto be more careful how theyso beware that if you think you understand the standard broadly, youmay still run into some situations where others behave differently than you may have expected.The issue that we’ve talked a bit about invitations to officials and I guess Members ofliaments as well to conferences, site visits etc… they can be accepted but that would very, its relevance tocould be deemedWe’ve talked about the fact that increasingly the way you communicate, the way weesponses to public consultations arepublished, and things that you submit can be requested through access to documents. Theand it is something you have tou submit it. You need to makesome officials mayor they may do things thatweet about the meetings they had, put it on their
  • 13. EU Lobbying, Ethics aFacebook page or their websitesinstitutions are never private and you shcomfortable knowing that others find out about themthat you are representing.Rules and expectations are changingThe final point to make is that the rules and expectations are changing. There are a number ofgroups, some of them are even participating in the session todaycontinue to improve the way it deals with issues related to ethics and transparencytouched on briefly, there’s an ongoing debatefair enough to expect there’s aRegister. That’s happening at the momentchanging, and all of us as lobbyists need to be aware of thisspecific issues we are lobbying onthis general area about the relationshipQQuestion: How has lobbying changed in the past 21 years? Is it more aggressivethan it used to be?’I don’t think I would use the word moremuch more transparent. I think the number of issues that are being lobbied has greatlyincreased. I think it has partly increased because of competencies of the EU institutionincreased. In particular the competethey’re dealing with a lot of issuesnormal I think that there’s an increwhether lobbying is more aggressive,professional. I’d say over that time periodEU institutions have grown up. There’s more people here doing itprofessionally, so I think, if anythingQuestion: what are the differences between lobbying in Brussels and lobbying inother EU capitals like also in Strasbourg butgovernment?Let me first do something on unasurvey. Some of you may know thatpast few years. I think we’ve done four more already wpoliticians inside institutions and get the views on all of us and the lobbyiststhe good lobbying, bad lobbyingEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sor their websites, so the assumption needs to be that your contact with the EUinstitutions are never private and you should conduct them in a way thatcomfortable knowing that others find out about them, what you are saying and the positionsRules and expectations are changingthe rules and expectations are changing. There are a number ofgroups, some of them are even participating in the session today, who are pushing for the EU tocontinue to improve the way it deals with issues related to ethics and transparency’s an ongoing debate about “revolving doors” and other issuesfair enough to expect there’s a review underway of the functioning of the Joint Transparencyat the moment, so it is fair to say that the rules and expectations areand all of us as lobbyists need to be aware of this: not only we have to know aboutlobbying on, but we need to make sure we know about what’s going on inthis general area about the relationship between lobbyists and the EU institutions.Questions & Answerslobbying changed in the past 21 years? Is it more aggressiveuse the word more “aggressive”, I think the whole system has become. I think the number of issues that are being lobbied has greatlyincreased. I think it has partly increased because of competencies of the EU institutionthe competency of the European Parliament has increasedthey’re dealing with a lot of issues that have huge impact on a wide range of stakeholdersnormal I think that there’s an increased level of lobbying. I’m not sure that it is easybying is more aggressive, so if anything, I would say it become much more. I’d say over that time period the professional lobbying has grown up just like theEU institutions have grown up. There’s more people here doing it, and they are doingif anything, the quality of lobbying has improved in that timeframe.ifferences between lobbying in Brussels and lobbying inother EU capitals like also in Strasbourg but also in a given Memberunabashedly commercial here and make a plugsurvey. Some of you may know that Burson-Marsteller has regularly done a lobbying surveyyears. I think we’ve done four more already where we do polling ofpoliticians inside institutions and get the views on all of us and the lobbyists,the good lobbying, bad lobbying, and that kind of thing: we are renewing that survey.so the assumption needs to be that your contact with the EUthat you would bewhat you are saying and the positionsthe rules and expectations are changing. There are a number ofwho are pushing for the EU tocontinue to improve the way it deals with issues related to ethics and transparency. As we’veother issues, so it’srway of the functioning of the Joint Transparencyrules and expectations arenot only we have to know aboutbut we need to make sure we know about what’s going on inand the EU institutions.lobbying changed in the past 21 years? Is it more aggressive, I think the whole system has become. I think the number of issues that are being lobbied has greatlyincreased. I think it has partly increased because of competencies of the EU institutions haveincreased, and ifhave huge impact on a wide range of stakeholders, it’sI’m not sure that it is easy to sayI would say it become much morethe professional lobbying has grown up just like theand they are doing it morethe quality of lobbying has improved in that timeframe.ifferences between lobbying in Brussels and lobbying inalso in a given Member State’sfor our lobbyinglobbying survey thehere we do polling of EU officials andand what makeswe are renewing that survey.
  • 14. EU Lobbying, Ethics aThe last survey was published in 2009 and the 2013memory serves well, about the 2fair to say is that the nature of lobbying is different in differenStates. It reflects, I think, culturalhang-up for a lot of people, while the wordthing in a number of places. The practice of what we all understand to be lobbyingcommon across EU Member Statesto talk to elected politicians and officials about different policies. There are clearly thiwork better in some Member States and worse in other Member SThe debate about lobbying regulation is increasing all over Europe. I thinkgood thing. I think it helps all of us to conduct an open and transparent dialoguinstitutions if the framework for that is clearly defined in law and is allowed and is understoodwhat good, open dialogue is,inappropriate forms of dialogue are not allowed. That’s a verinvolved in lobbying, whether you arewhat we do is done in a professionalof law - something I believe in perBut I do think also that good lobbying practice reflects different cultures. Any good lobbyist wiunderstand not only the policyprocesses of the Member States, the politics, the politicjust one thing happening… and of course the personalityAnd I think they are very different in dicountries, and so it’s important to really understand not just the nuts and bolts of the issue butthe sort of advocacy or context inQuestion: If you could discuss shortly the role of media and pran EU context?I think the media plays a very important role in Europe and the discussion of European issues.Many of the issues that policy makersvarious media, and so its normal if your set of intermight like to see your position reflected in the media coverage for that issuetime stories are written and they talk about the position in different groups and different setsof interest, so I think that effective media relations isIn fact, when we tend to talk about effective engagement witface meeting or the direct meeting with politicians and officials, it is jusit. You would also want to ‘worrybigger coalitions is often important becauvery hard to carry the day just by yourself.EU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-sThe last survey was published in 2009 and the 2013 edition will be launched in early June ifabout the 2ndof June. We will have some new data to look at,fair to say is that the nature of lobbying is different in different countries, in d, cultural differences and in some places the word “lobbyingwhile the word “lobbying” maybe viewed as a positivehe practice of what we all understand to be lobbyingtates, in terms of the recognition of the need of the stakeholdersto talk to elected politicians and officials about different policies. There are clearly thie Member States and worse in other Member States.The debate about lobbying regulation is increasing all over Europe. I think that isgood thing. I think it helps all of us to conduct an open and transparent dialoguinstitutions if the framework for that is clearly defined in law and is allowed and is understoodcause it is helpful also to make sure that the corrupt andinappropriate forms of dialogue are not allowed. That’s a very important point. Anybodywhether you are from business, NGOs or whatever, it is important thatin a professional, transparent way and it is respected and has a frameworkpersonally.But I do think also that good lobbying practice reflects different cultures. Any good lobbyist wipolicy he or she is lobbying on but the protocol ptates, the politics, the political environment in which your issue isand of course the personality of the people you are trying to talk to.And I think they are very different in different Member States, and moreand so it’s important to really understand not just the nuts and bolts of the issue butin which it is being considered in different places.If you could discuss shortly the role of media and press in lobbying iI think the media plays a very important role in Europe and the discussion of European issues.policy makers care about are discussed in the media and debated inand so its normal if your set of interest, a position in one of those issues, youmight like to see your position reflected in the media coverage for that issue. Yotime stories are written and they talk about the position in different groups and different setsI think that effective media relations is a very important part of good lobbying.In fact, when we tend to talk about effective engagement with the EU institutions, the facemeeting with politicians and officials, it is just one very small part ofworry’ about how you deal with other stakeholders,bigger coalitions is often important because in a complex Europe with 27 Member Svery hard to carry the day just by yourself.ill be launched in early June if myto look at, but what ist countries, in different Memberlobbying” itself is aa positive or negativehe practice of what we all understand to be lobbying is reallyin terms of the recognition of the need of the stakeholdersto talk to elected politicians and officials about different policies. There are clearly things thatthat is generally agood thing. I think it helps all of us to conduct an open and transparent dialogue with EUinstitutions if the framework for that is clearly defined in law and is allowed and is understoodto make sure that the corrupt andy important point. Anybody who isit is important thatis respected and has a frameworkBut I do think also that good lobbying practice reflects different cultures. Any good lobbyist willhe or she is lobbying on but the protocol procedures andal environment in which your issue isthe people you are trying to talk to.and more varying in otherand so it’s important to really understand not just the nuts and bolts of the issue butwhich it is being considered in different places.ess in lobbying inI think the media plays a very important role in Europe and the discussion of European issues.care about are discussed in the media and debated inest, a position in one of those issues, you. You will see all thetime stories are written and they talk about the position in different groups and different setsvery important part of good lobbying.h the EU institutions, the face-to-t one very small part ofabout how you deal with other stakeholders, or buildingse in a complex Europe with 27 Member States, it’s
  • 15. EU Lobbying, Ethics aThe media relations point and other dialogue with experts and getting expert opinionSo effective lobbying involves many different componentsbe an important one of those.I would like to just simply wrap upEU Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency: “Do”-s and “Don’t”-she media relations point and other dialogue with experts and getting expert opinionSo effective lobbying involves many different components, and media relations would certainlyI would like to just simply wrap up and thank you very much for everybody’s participationhe media relations point and other dialogue with experts and getting expert opinion are vital.and media relations would certainlyand thank you very much for everybody’s participation.
  • 16. Questions & Answers not covered at the live eventQ: The EU is still not subject to the Laws on Free Access to Information?A: On 3 December 2001, Regulation (EC) No. 1049/2001 regarding public access to Parliament,Council and Commission documents entered into force. Its main objective was to introduce greatertransparency into the work of the EU institutions by creating a process through which any citizen of theUnion or any natural or legal person residing in or having its office in the EU could request access todocuments of the Parliament, Commission and the Council. I think this is similar to what you speak of.More generally, it is important to note that the EU institutions have taken a number of different steps toprovide access about their activities online.Q: The Register requires potential lobbyists to apply. But MEPs themselves don’t have to declare whothey meet with. Doesn’t this create a grey area for potentially abusive contacts?A: While some MEPs choose to list all their meetings on websites and/or tweet or communicate aboutmeetings in other ways, many MEPs also feel that as elected representatives they have the right to meetwith any legitimate interest and to do so confidentially if it makes sense. There are a number of ways tofight potentially abusive contacts, including the idea of a legislative footprint and strong codes ofconduct on the behavior of elected officials.Q: Any sanctions/penalties foreseen for not complying with the code of conduct?A: Non-compliance with the code of conduct may lead, following an investigation to such measures assuspension or removal from the register and, if applicable, withdrawal of EP access. A decision to applysuch measures may be published on the registers website. Anyone may lodge a complaint,substantiated by material facts. For further information see: http://europa.eu/transparency-register/complaints/complaint-mechanism/index_en.htm.Q: Has the Commission ever tried to ‘regulate’ lobbying, rather than just make it transparent?A: No. The Commission has from the outset always pursued the “carrot and stick” approach of avoluntary register, citing the absence of a legal base in the EU Treaties to make it mandatory.Q: Are there strictly defined procedures for Commissioners when they break the code of conduct? Oris resignation the only punishment?A: The Final Provisions of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners defines these procedures. That said,the Code of Conduct does give the President of the European Commission the right to demand theresignation of a Commissioner.Q: Do you think that 18 months rules should be extended to the Commission’s hierarchy down toHead of Unit level?A: No. I do not think it makes sense to have the same restrictions on Heads of Unit as on EuropeanCommissioners.Q: For the MEP code of conduct: would it be possible to have the latest doc which includes theseimplementing rules please?A: The implementing rules for the MEP code of conduct were only adopted in mid April and I do nothave them to hand. Seehttp://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20130416IPR07396/html/Code-of-Conduct-implementing-measures-adopted for more information.
  • 17. Q: What will happen if MEPs don’t follow the rules?A: The link above addresses the issue of sanctions.Q: Is this list (who MEPs meet with) publicly available, if not, do you think it should be? If yes, wherewe can we find it?A: It is currently not required of MEPs. Some MEPs, or delegations, do so voluntarily and thisinformation is usually shared on their respective websites.Q: Thank you for answering my question. Follow up: indeed many MEPs do declare who they meetwith, but it seems that they are always a couple of the same MEPs, the same “bad apples” who don’tcomply?A: I have not analysed carefully who does this and who does not. It is important to note, however, thatsome MEPs who do not share such information would not necessarily consider themselves “bad apples”.Q: How do you think the transparency can be further improved, Mr. Mack?A: For me, the biggest problem with the current register is that it is not mandatory for all and there issignificant under-participation by certain categories of lobbyists (the lawyers are often cited in thisrespect). It is the position of Burson-Marsteller and my view that the register should be mandatory andapplied equally to all lobbyists whether consultancies, NGOs, lawyers, associations or anything else.Lobbying is an activity and anyone who does it is a lobbyist. It is also not yet systematically enforced andthere is a wide variation in the quality of information provided in the register. This should not be thecase.Q: What is the grade of appreciation of transparency rules inside lobbying organizations?A: I am not sure I understand this question, but I can state that I regularly advise clients that they shouldbe aware of the transparency rules and it seems that awareness of these rules is growing. I thinkestablished lobbyists in Brussels are well aware of the rules.Q: What about non-registration of law firms that offer lobby services?A: As stated above, it is the position of Burson-Marsteller and my view that the register should bemandatory and applied equally to all lobbyists whether consultancies, NGOs, lawyers, associations oranything else. Lobbying is an activity and anyone who does it is a lobbyist.Q: Are there any specific Codes of Conduct? (except those for Commissioners or MEP) which apply toother EU officials?A: As presented, there are the Guidelines on Gifts and Hospitality and the relevant provisions of theStaff Regulation of Officials of the European Communities.Q: These conditions apply to lobbyists. What about meetings with national regulators andgovernments, is there an exception for officials to declare these meetings?A: Meetings with national regulators and governments are for the moment subject to the laws andcodes of individual member states. It is fair to say that this issue is being discussed and debated in manymember states at the moment.Q: Aggregating multiple interests has always been a problem for lobbying success. Many people thinkthey know how to lobby even though they have never studied or experienced it. How would you
  • 18. advise to create a space for the need for a professional lobbyist and especially show howcomplementary it is to the actual content of the interest it aims to represent?A: I am not sure that I understand your question. That said, I think that ethical, transparent lobbying isan important part of the democratic process. I wrote in a book on EU lobbying published in 2011 that“the EU institutions have become more sophisticated in their dialogue with interested stakeholders. In2011 there is genuine recognition that stakeholder dialogue is an essential component of policydevelopment and following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, it is even recognised as ademocratic principle in Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that ‘the institutionsshall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to makeknown and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action’. In other words, good balancedpolicies cannot be developed without input from interested stakeholders.”Q: Can you give us some examples of active, successful lobbyists’ groups/lobbyist leaders?A: I am not sure where to start. There are a wide range of groups, representing a wide range ofinterests, who are effective. I would be happy to answer specific questions via direct dialogue.Q: Should people lobbying member-state governments only about EU policy also register on jointregister?A: It is not required by the current system, which only applies to the Commission and the Parliament.Discussions are underway with the Council about it joining the register but, even so, it is likely thatlobbying member state governments will be subject first and foremost to the relevant national laws, nomatter what the subject of that lobbying.Q: What about the system of sanctions for breach of the rules of conduct?A: Non-compliance with the code of conduct may lead, following an investigation to such measures assuspension or removal from the register and, if applicable, withdrawal of EP access. A decision to applysuch measures may be published on the registers website. Anyone may lodge a complaint,substantiated by material facts. For further information see: http://europa.eu/transparency-register/complaints/complaint-mechanism/index_en.htm.All views expressed are the personal views of Robert Mack unless otherwise noted above.