The increasing importance of EU institutions over the past few decades has meant that Brussels has become the second largest centre of lobbying globally, after Washington DC. There are currently an estimated 15,000 lobbyists and 2,500 lobbyist organisations in Brussels. The relatively distant and technocratic nature of EU governance means that lobbyists play an important role in representing the EU population via interest groups, including industry groups, NGOs, trade unions and think tanks. Lobbyists provide valuable expertise and representation of interests that might otherwise be ignored at a European level. Lobbyists in Brussels lobby the Commission primarily, as well as the Parliament and to a lesser extent, government ministers.
This year the MEU lobbyists will take two different roles, depending on the topic which is discussed. For the Proposal on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market, participants will represent the interests of different organizations which are directly effected by it. These are for example the German GEMA or the European Consumers‘ Organisation.
For Croatia‘s EU membership accession negotiations, we will mainly have interests groups and citizen initiatives which have doubts about Croatia‘s progress in fulfilling all its obligations. Especially in the field of justice and corruption but also in environmental protection, there are serious issues that still have to be tackled.
Due to the short nature of the simulation, lobbyist participants are given far more access than it would occur in real life. In particular, lobbyist participants are able to sit in on the sessions of the Parliament, though, as in real life, the Council is far harder to access. Lobbyists may communicate through official and unofficial meetings with the Council and the Parliament, as well as through the media and during social occasions (such as coffee breaks). As a lobbyist at MEU, your job is to provide MEPs and Ministers with expertise and advice, all while trying to convince them to amend legislation and vote in a way that benefits the interests you represent.
Lobbying at MEU is hard work but also a lot of fun and a great experience. Nevertheless, as you have already read, it is different from real life lobbying. We will specify these differences during a workshop, one day before the plenary sessions are opened. You will be equipped with the best techniques for lobbyists at MEU but also get to know what it is like to lobby in real life.