Successful representation of interests requires procedural competence

Treaty of Lisbon leads to a paradigmatic change in EU lobbying

Brussels / Berlin / Munich, 24 June 2013. As a result of the Treaty of Lisbon the basic conditions for successful communication between politics and business have changed decisively - the structures of European decision-making in the EU and its Member States have now become increasingly impenetrable even for large international companies. In practice, the companies do not lack content-related competence, i.e. good arguments for their own concerns, rather there is an increasing need for procedural competence, i.e. extensive knowledge of the formal and informal decision-making process and effective opportunities to participate in it.

Dr. Klemens Joos, CEO of EUTOP International GmbH, comments as follows on this subject: "In particular, the Treaty of Lisbon requires a paradigmatic change for the representation of interests - content and arguments are necessary, but they must also be communicated to the right recipients at the right time and place, which is becoming increasingly difficult due to the increasing complexity of the process and the plethora of European and Member State decision-making levels. Procedural competence is therefore at least as important for effective political communication as contentual competence. Without procedural competence there can be no success in political representation of interests."

In practice, this can be seen in the example of the far-reaching changes in the European decision-making process resulting from the Treaty of Lisbon. For example, up to now for decisions of the European Council the principle of unanimity has prevailed. The Lisbon Treaty has now introduced the principle of majority in many areas. Up to now, if a company managed to convince the representatives of its own Member State in the Council of its cause, no decisions against its own interests could be made. After the Treaty of Lisbon this is no longer the case - when the majority principle applies the votes of one or only a few Member States can achieve little unless they achieve a blocking minority.

Upgrading the co-decision process as an ordinary legislative procedure and therefore a regular legislative instrument of the EU has had similar consequences - as a result of the related mandatory involvement of the European Parliament in virtually all legislative measures of the EU which are relevant for companies, purely national representation of interests is de facto condemned to failure. This is exacerbated by the fact that the work of the parliament is not oriented towards the executive, unlike at the Member State level. For each matter new coalitions have to be forged across different factions and different Member States. There are no government and opposition factions.

The principle of a European procedural approach and the importance of procedural competence in the representation of interests was recognised by Dr. Klemens Joos at the end of the 1980s and put into practice by him in 1990 with the formation of EUTOP International GmbH. With his doctorate published in 1997 ("Representing the Interests of German companies with the Institutions of the European Union", Faculty of Business Administration at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) he laid down the scientific basis for the EUTOP service model- yet at that time when the EU had only 15 Member States and the principle of still largely applied in the European Council, the co-decision procedure only being applied in a small number of legislative acts. In his book "Lobbying in the New Europe - Successful Representation of Interests After the Treaty of Lisbon", published in 2010, Dr. Joos further deepened on this approach, taking into account the far-reaching reforms brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon.

The theory developed by Joos on procedural competence is increasingly also being adopted by other authors, for example Daniel Gu├ęguen, who in his recent book "Reshaping European Lobbying" differentiates between "technical components" (knowledge of the key content and arguments) and "procedural components" (knowledge of the decision-making processes and procedures) and attributes equal importance both components for the success of an interest representation strategy (backed up with procedural examples).

Joos' ideas and therefore EUTOP's service approach are empirically confirmed by the company's success story, which now spans a period of more than twenty years.

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