Day two of our four-day Eurotrip aimed to give us an insight in, the otherwise not so transparent, world of lobbying. Three speakers tried to convince us of the fact that the lobbies of Brussels are not as mysterious and undemocratic as most people think.
After a short introduction of the representative of the “House of the Dutch provinces”, Ms. Linda van Beek from VNO-NCW explained what lobbying involves. The company she works for, VNO-NCW, lobbies for companies such as KLM and Unilever. Her job is to protect the interests of these companies, by monitoring European legislation and limiting the negative consequences on the companies as much as possible.
Decision making process
In order to do this, she tries to get an overview of all the parties involved in a certain legislative proposal. After which she has a complete overview of all the parties involved, she will try to get them together in order to get a proper influence on the decision making process of the European institutions, also called lobbying.
The representative of the regional government of Kent, a province of the United Kingdom, gave a practical example of a successful lobby. He described how he influenced the decisions made on the future developments of the ‘Eurostar’ project. He managed to arrange a meeting with the five institutions involved in the project . During this meeting it became clear that the demands of the Kent government could be conceded.
The second day of the lecturers managed to show that lobbying is indeed less mysterious as it seemed, and plays an important role in democracy. Lobbying contributes to democracy because it makes room for individuals and groups to influence the decision making process of all institutions with legislative power. [Cas de Bruijn & Jochem Verheijen]