New lobbyist group ready to face the EP

Thirteen Brussels lobbyists have banded together to form an association to represent their interests in key European institutions.

Thirteen Brussels lobbyists have banded together to form an

association to represent their interests in key European

institutions.



The Society of European Affairs Practitioners, which holds its first

meeting on 27 May, has been set up by a group of professional lobbyists

from consultancies, corporations and industry associations based in the

Belgian capital. They include Catherine Stewart of Cabinet Stewart,

William Seddon-Brown from Waste Management and Maarten Labberton from

the European Aluminium Association.



With voluntary personal (rather than company) membership, SEAP’s main

aim is to improve communications between European Union institutions

such as the commission and the parliament and public affairs

practitioners.



Rogier Chorus, SEAP’s acting chairman and secretary general for the

ceramics industry association Cerame Unie, said that as well as

establishing good relations with the institutions, the society was also

prepared to lobby on its own behalf. In particular, members are keen to

ensure that the European Parliament establishes clear and reasonable

guidelines on lobbying practice during its debate on the issue next

week.



Prompted by proposals from UK MEP Glyn Ford last summer the debate will

focus on a draft code of conduct, plans to set up a register of

lobbyists and measures compelling lobbyists to produce an annual report

of visits and appointments at the parliament.



’We will try to restrict the annual report to a minimum,’ said

Chorus.



’We would expect the parliament to be as open to us as we are towards

them.’



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