Public Affairs: Euro parliament limits access

BRUSSELS: The European Parliament is stepping up security by restricting access to only those organisations that have a base in Brussels, Strasbourg or Luxembourg.

In addition, the number of passes issued to organisations has been cut from six to four. The new rules are expected to have a particularly detrimental effect on charities, barely any of which would now qualify for access, the lobbyists' traditional stock and trade.

Edelman Europe chairman of public affairs Michael Burrell said: 'The parliament wants to be seen to be taking security seriously. But people are concerned this risks setting up an unlevel playing field as NGOs in particular will be badly hit.'

He added that most commercial organisations would be unaffected because either they or their retained public affairs adviser was likely to have a base in the required locations.

The Whitehouse Consultancy MD Chris Whitehouse, who is well versed in tackling EU regulations for numerous food industry clients, said: 'The parliament is erring on the side of over-caution.'

He predicted the effect on PA practitioners would be small, but said: 'There will be difficulties in policing it. It's likely people (with several meetings) will need to leave the building and go through security again and again.'

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