Lobby groups
On lobbying
0 On DEsite
1 General
2 Pillar structure
3 Bodies
4 Decision-making
5 Lobby groups
  • On lobbying
  • Commission
  • Parliament
  • Council
  • 6 Case histories
    7 Information and publications

    Decisions taken in the framework of the EU can have an enormous impact on every sector of society. For particular branches of industry, a decision may necessitate a radical change in operational management. Organisations like those in the environmental movement may also profit by certain decisions to achieve their objectives. In order to influence decision-making in their favour, many organisations try to influence the process so that the outcome may benefit them.

    In the last few years, many lobby groups have descended on Brussels. They are often referred to as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). These organisations take different forms. There are groups that promote a particular public interest, e.g., human rights, or groups that promote the interests of the people they represent, e.g., the elderly. Big companies sometimes have an office of their own; often they are internationally united per branch. There are also commercial bureau´s that offer their services for payment.

    Lobbying does not necessarily include bribes and dubious organisations that want to achieve their end by devious methods. Lobbying usually means giving the right person the right information at the right time. Good lobbyists are familiar with the Brussels labyrinth and know when to be where. Lobbying is generally conducted by respectable, professional organisations.

    The information supplied varies from objective statistical data and subjective views of a policy to actual proposals for amendments. The workload being what it is, sound information on a particular subject is often more than welcome by those working for the institutions.

    The institutions themselves often seek contact with an NGO when they need information. Sometimes the contacts are conducted on a formal basis. That the institutions value the NGOs´ work is borne out by the fact that some NGOs are subsidised.

    NGOs do not work in the same way with every institution. One of the reasons for this is the difference in culture between institutions. The Commission traditionally works closely together with NGOs, whereas the Council has become accessible only recently. Besides, the role of the institutions in the decision-making process is different. Therefore, every institution requires a different approach.