Brussels. 'Effective lobbying is about understanding European political processes, developing contacts within the European institutions, building networks with other stakeholders and being able to supply knowledge and expertise to the EU institutions', stated Joanna Benfield, Director of the Assembly of European Regions' Brussels Office, at the launch of a new book on EU lobbying, written by an AER member.
Pascal Goergen, Representative of Brussels Capital Region to the European Union, launched the English version of his book Lobbying in Brussels. A Practical Guide to the European Union for Cities, Regions, Networks and Enterprises' during a seminar on effective lobbying practices for key stakeholders in Brussels. The book identifies the tools that are available to cities, regions, networks and enterprises for influencing the decision-making process in the European Union.
Regions are aware that the majority of decisions that affect their competencies are today made in Brussels, rather than in national capitals. But many regions remain unsure about how to influence the EU political decision-making process and how to defend their own interests within the European Union. These are the questions that this book answers concretely and pragmatically. They are also the issues that are at the core of the AER's work. Representing more than 250 regions, the AER is able to provide regions with routes of access to EU decision-making processes that one region alone may find impossible.
During the launch event, Ms Benfield highlighted the example of the AER's recent advocacy campaign concerning the new EU instrument for regional co-operation, the European Grouping on Territorial Co-operation. The AER ensured that the views of member regions were taken into account through a range of lobbying initiatives, including the organisation of hearings with the European Parliament, close contacts with the Council of Ministers working group and direct links with the EU Presidency. Coupled with direct action by member regions vis-à-vis their own national governments, these initiatives ensured that the EGTC Regulation reflected the real needs of the regions.
'The success of this campaign, and of much of the AER's work, derives from the AER's broad membership base - with some member regions even representing their countries in the Council of Minister -, its access to each of the European institutions, as well as its networks within the individual Member States. Together, 255 regions, are a force to be reckoned with, even for the European institutions!', concluded Joanna Benfield.
Copies of the book "Lobbying in Brussels. A Practical Guide to the European Union for Cities, Regions, Networks and Enterprises" can be purchased via the following website: www.goergen.be
The AER is the political organisation of the regions of Europe and their spokesperson at European and international level. Its vocation is to defend the regions' interests in the political process and develop interregional cooperation. The AER brings together 255 Regions from 30 countries and 14 interregional organisations.
AER Contacts: Joanna Benfield, Director, AER Brussels Office, Tel: +32 2 4218757, firstname.lastname@example.org, or, Francine Huhardeaux, Press & Communications, Tel: +33 3 88 22 74 49, email@example.com - www.a-e-r.org