What is Lobbying?


Lobbying is every activity carried out with the objective of directly or indirectly influencing the formulation or implementation of the policy and decision-making process regarding legislative or regulatory activities. All policies are influenced by the world we live in. Whether it is voting in a new government, writing your local representative or supporting causes, we, as citizens, influence the laws we live by. Lobbying, in this case, describes organized engagement and advocacy delivered by professional public affairs practitioners, who are referred to generally as lobbyists. It is a complex area, and for those who practice it often involves having sound knowledge of politics, business, communication, and law. At its core, it demands a transparent and ethical framework.

The current regulatory framework in the European Union defines lobbying as ‘all activities (...) carried out with the objective of directly or indirectly influencing the formulation or implementation of policy and the decision-making processes of the EU institutions, irrespective of where they are undertaken and of the channel or medium of communication used, for example via outsourcing, media, contracts with professional intermediaries, think tanks, platforms, forums, campaigns and grassroots initiatives’

The European Union institutional landscape in Brussels where we find 28 Member States being represented makes it a global destination for lobbyists. Policies adopted by the EU ripple across the EU Member States and globally making the EU a major hub of lobbying activity.

Democracy is a multi-layered system where a variety of social, political and economic actors try to play a part in the role of policymaking. Globalisation and the internationalization of legislative and regulatory matters often mean for lobbyists that it is essential to focus their efforts on influencing decision-makers at all relevant levels.

European Union Lobbying in Numbers

Data from September 2019 - Joint Transparency Register

In-house lobbyists and trade / business / professional associations

+6000

Non-governmental organisations

+3000

Professional consultancies / law firms / self-employed consultants

+1000

Think tanks, research and academic insitutions

+800

Organisations representing local, regional and municipal authorities, other public or mixed entities, etc.

+500

Organisations representing churches and religious communities

+50

TOTAL = 11800 entities