SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE BRUSSELS BUBBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TO PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROFESSIONALS

Author: Mr. Emmanouil Patavos, Public Affairs Professional- Article published 2012 and reposted here

" The 'Brussels bubble' is expanding rapidly. Not in the literal sense, the physical borders circling Brussels remain steadfast. However, the actors and activities which define the essence of the 'Brussels bubble' have started to become more prevalent on line.

LA COMMUNICATION D'INFLUENCE A LA FRANCAISE

In France 'Lobbying' is a catch-all term that is applied across the board to private interests, corporate interests, NGOs interests and Member States' interests. In addition, the French have come up with the term COMMUNICATION D'INFLUENCE (Influence Communication).

Influence communication designates a set of processes aiming to arouse, bring about, legitimate or prevent public decisions with the object of promoting or defending the commercial or ideological interests of an organization by using as prime action lever the influence of public opinion.

UNDERSTANDING ADVOCACY: CONTEXT AND USE

"Advocacy" is a word that is widely used in public discourse, research and policy. Journalists, activists, academics, lawyers, government officials, non-profit managers, and others use the word differently in their profession. "Advocacy" describes a wide range of individual and collective expression or action on a cause, idea, or policy. It may also refer to specific activities or organizations. Sometimes a distinction is made between advocacy on behalf of others and grassroots advocacy or civic or political participation.

FRENCH SOCIALIST PARTY TAKES A STAND AGAINST PRIVATE INTEREST GROUPS

In its ‘Convention Europe April 2013’, the French Socialist Party advocates a European Regulatory Framework for all lobbies and the organisation of private interest groups, which they argue are based on money and influence, leaving consumer groups, communities and citizens often defenceless. “European institutions must be politically exemplary regarding transparency and independence. It is necessary to mobilize the institutions and citizens’ energies to create efficient counter powers and to take into consideration counter-expertise (second opinions).”

AALEP LAUNCHES SPEAKERS BUREAU

AALEP has launched a Speakers Bureau to meet the demand for speakers at conventions, national and international conferences, seminars, special events, local authorities, community groups, private sector businesses, embassies and representatives from foreign countries and governments, trade and professional associations, chambers of commerce, students at school, colleges and universities as well as for in-house training requirements.

"A" FOR ADVOCACY

The meaning of Advocacy varies greatly across Europe. These diverse interpretations can be explained in part by the various cultural, political, social, economic and legal contexts that make up Europe. Yet, there is some common meaning and vocabulary to define the scope of activities which are undertaken and supported in the name of Advocacy.

PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCACY: PRIVATE VS PUBLIC INTERESTS

Private Interests

FRENCH-GERMAN POLITICAL CONFRONTATION INSTEAD OF VISION

The President of the French National Assembly Mr. Claude Bartolome is calling for a political confrontation with Germany to reject austerity. It should be mentioned that indeed François Hollande may have campaigned on policies to end austerity and return to fiscal stimulus, but once he was elected and the French parliamentary election was over, he actually reverted back and pushed through an austerity budget in France with the consolidation of about € 30 billion. And he also pushed through the fiscal compact, which was, of course, very much Chancellor Merkel's idea.

WHY EU GOVERNMENTS SHOULD SUPPORT POLICY ADVOCACY EFFORTS ?

Advocacy is a process of articulating a position on a particular cause or issue. It involves engaging relevant power centres and influencing the policy-makers to take or abandon a particular position. The role of policy advocacy is to set up a counter dialogue or promote policy dialogue to demonstrate to policy-makers where policy change is required. Policy advocacy can fill institutional and geographical space while bridging language and communication barriers between policy-makers and those unable to articulate their concerns.

THE SPEAKING CIRCUIT FOR VIPs

There are two very good reasons to do the speaking circuit for high profile personalities from the world of politics and the media: One is money and the other is exposure. Depending on the circumstances, it could be argued that either of those two incentives is more important than the other.

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