Correspondent's Choice

EurActiv summary of an essay by Michael Burrell, Deputy chairman, European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA)

“For public affairs practitioners to be truly effective, [they] must have a profound understanding of institutional and cultural differences,” argues Michael Burrell, vice-chairman of Edelman Europe and deputy chairman of the European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA).

Consultancy work is not only about direct lobbying of decision-makers, but also “extends to mapping a wide range of stakeholders and devising appropriate means to engage in dialogue with them,” writes Burrell in an essay for the ECPA publication ‘The Future of Public Trust’, edited by Tom Spencer and Conor McGrath and introduced by EurActiv.

Lobbyists must take into account varying levels of influence within particular stakeholder groups, Burrell argues, citing the media as an example.

Burrell observes that the “traditional print and broadcast media have relatively little influence in Italy, since so much of it is owned or dominated by Silvio Berlusconi”. In contrast, the UK media has “well-sourced reports […] and the ability to defeat well-resourced lobbying campaigns,” he continues.

One factor preventing consultants from lobbying effectively is that they are “often barely conscious of [cultural] differences” from country to country.

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