to Content
Header Image

Networking and lobbying as seen by the European Parliament

Plenary / Panel
english language


Head of Unit, Conciliation and Codecision Secretariat, European Parliament, Brussels and Strasbourg Abstract
In order to enhance transparency of the increasing lobbying activities inside the European Parliament, the Parliament has established a register for lobbyists and a so-called "code of conduct". The first part of the presentation will outline the main features of these instruments and its current use in practice. A comparison with the recently introduced register of the European Commission as well as a summary of the ongoing discussion on a "European Transparency Initiative" will be added.
In the second part, I will outline some practical experiences of successful or not so successful lobbying in the European Parliament, in particular, for some major legislative files.
Head, Information Office of the European Parliament, Vienna Abstract
Since its founding more than 50 years ago, the European Parliament has continuously increased its political standing and its legal powers. It thus now decides on most European legislation on equal footing with the Council of Ministers. As a consequence interest groups and lobbyists have rightly turned to European legislators as an important target group for their activities.
While European law makers welcome in principle the valuable input of organised civil society, lobbying cannot replace the political responsibility of MEPs before their electorate who will - in accordance with the rule of democracy - judge upon their work on a regular basis at European Elections.
In order to facilitate interaction between the European Parliament's currently 785 directly elected members on the one hand and individual citizens and organised interest groups on the other hand, proceedings are organised as transparent as possible. However, in view of the complexity of European politics, for many the inside of this trans-national assembly remains - without qualified professional help - difficult to understand.
Member, European Parliament, European Social Democratic Party, Brussels Abstract
The exchange of views with stakeholders or how we mainly call them lobbyists plays an important role in the work of a European parliamentarian. Around 15 000 lobbyists and 2 500 different groups of interest try to influence the European policy making. On one hand, they provide us with useful expertise and point out the pros and cons of the topic, but on the other hand, you have to understand that the information is also very subjective. For this reason, transparency is essential. It is important to know, how decisions are made and which groups of interests are influencing them. For the Euro-pean parliamentarians this means that we have to take a close look who is our conversational partner and then we can review and classify the given information. In conclusion, lobbyists are better than their reputation and they have their place within the European policy making.
Member, European Parliament, Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats), Brussels Abstract
The contact with interest groups and lobbyists is part of the every day work of a Member of the European Parliament. They provide us with important input and help us to get to know a different and professional point of view on certain topics. The most important challenge in dealing with these representatives is to maintain a certain balance between transparency and privacy. Of course, a Member of the European Parliament has to make sure that he or she is up to date and knows which lobbyists are present in the European Parliament. On the other hand we also have to keep the focus on our political responsibilities and concrete actions and cannot allow these professionals to reach position with too much influence. We always have to remember that they tend to a very subjective point of view.
Bureau Chief, ORF - Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, Brussels Chair

Mag. Klaus BAIER

Head of Unit, Conciliation and Codecision Secretariat, European Parliament, Brussels and Strasbourg

1988-1992 Wirtschaftsuniversität Vienna, General Business Administration (Handelswissenschaft)
1992-1994 École des hautes études commerciales - HEC Paris/Wirtschaftsuniversität Vienna, Master Programme, European Politics and Management
1985-1987 Schenker & CO AG, Ried (International Transport)
1987-1988 Austrian Commercial Counsellor (AHSt), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
1994-1994 European Commission, DG II - Economic Affairs, Brussels
1994-1996 Chamber of Labour, Vienna (Coordination on European Union matters)
1996-1999 European Parliament, Environment Committee, Brussels (Administrator)
1999-2005 European Parliament, Conciliation Unit (Administrator)
since 2005 European Parliament, Codecision and Conciliation Unit (Head of Unit)

Mag. Wolfgang HILLER

Head, Information Office of the European Parliament, Vienna

1979-1985 Studium der Handelswissenschaft, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
1985-1986 Voest-Alpine AG, Linz (Projektmanager)
1986-1990 Bundeskanzleramt, Wien (Wirtschaftliche Koordination)
1990-1991 Girocredit Bank AG, Wien (Auslandssekretariat und Auslandskreditbüro)
1992-2005 Ausübung verschiedener Funktionen in der Fraktion der SPE des Europäischen Parlaments und als Beamter der GD ADMIN der Europäischen Kommission in Brüssel
2005-2007 Stv. Leiter des Informationsbüros des Europäischen Parlaments für Österreich, Wien
seit 2007 Leiter des Informationsbüros des Europäischen Parlaments für Österreich, Wien

Christa PRETS

Member, European Parliament, European Social Democratic Party, Brussels

1987-1990 Member of the local council, Pöttsching
1990-1991 Deputy mayor
1991-1994 First directly elected mayor in Burgenland
1994-1999 Member of the government of Burgenland, responsible for culture, science, women affairs, social politics and sport
 - Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport (full member)
 - Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities (full member)
 - Regional development (substitute)
since 1999 Member of the European Parliament, in the committees on
  Substitute member of the delegations for relations with the Mashreq countries
since 1999 Vicepresident in the Delegation for relations with Iran
since 2002 Speaker on cultural affairs for the PSE group

Ing. Mag. Dr. Paul G. RÜBIG

Member, European Parliament, Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats), Brussels

1972-1978 Studium der Betriebswirtschaft, Marketing und Produktionstechnik, Universität Linz
1978-1984 Doktorat am Institut für Revisions-, Treuhand- und Rechnungswesen, Universität Linz
1991-1996 Abgeordneter zum Oberösterreichischen Landtag
1996 Abgeordneter zum Nationalrat
 Lehraufträge: Universität Klagenfurt, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Linz
seit 1996 Abgeordneter zum Europäischen Parlament

Dr. Raimund LÖW

Bureau Chief, ORF - Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, Brussels

 Studium der Neueren Geschichte und Politikwissenschaften, Universitäten Lausanne (CH) und Wien
 Aktiv in der Wiener Studentenbewegung
 Historische Forschungen zu zeitgeschichtlichen Themen und Lehrtätigkeit an verschiedenen Universitäten
 Mitarbeit, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung
 Referate und Beiträge auf Internationalen Historikerkongressen in Linz, Mexico City, Amsterdam
 Lehrtätigkeit, Universitäten Nottingham, Wien, Salzburg und Innsbruck
 Forschungstätigkeit, Amsterdam, Zagreb, Belgrad und Ljubljana
 Seit Mitte der 80er-Jahre Schwerpunkt auf aktueller journalistischer Berichterstattung im Österreichischen Rundfunk (ORF), Wien
1989-1991 Korrespondent des ORF, Moskau
1991-1997 sowie
2003-2007 Korrespondent und Büroleiter, ORF-Büro, Washington
seit 2007 Büroleiter, ORF-Büro, Brüssel