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5 MYTHS OR SO-CALLED EXCUSES NOT TO HAVE AN ASSOCIATION

1. We don’t have a lobby law hence we can’t have an association.

The truth is it is advisable to have an association set before even debates on a lobbying law start. And that is because if you have an association, you will achieve many things: you get to start the debates on the essential matters and notions regarding this activity on your own terms, you have the chance to start self-regulation, before regulation, increasing your reputation, you educate stakeholders on the matter and last, but not least you can lobby more effectively for an adequate lobbying law, in the name of an association.

2. There are no lobbyists in our country, there is no one who can join such an association.

The truth is it is advisable to have an association set before even debates on a lobbying law start. And that is because if you have an association, you will achieve many things: you get to start the debates on the essential matters and notions regarding this activity on your own terms, you have the chance to start self-regulation, before regulation, increasing your reputation, you educate stakeholders on the matter and last, but not least you can lobby more effectively for an adequate lobbying law, in the name of an association.

3. Our country is not at the level of other countries, as such there is no need for an association

If you live in Europe, you live in a democratic society. Wherever there is a democracy,influencing public policy will take place, whether you call it lobbying, advocacy orconsultations. Therefore, stop looking for lobbyists and start searching for privatestakeholders who get to discuss with public stakeholders when public policies are formulated.You will have found then your lobbyists.

4. Lobbying has a bad connotation in our country, hence it’s not good for us

The lobbying notion has indeed a difficult semantic burden around the world. It is eitherpositive or negative, depending on the context and the actors of the lobbying process.However, it is important to understand that this is the situation everywhere around theworld. That is why other words are used sometimes, such as advocacy, public affairs orinterest representation, as EU institutions use.

5. We don’t need an association; we do our lobbying very well without one

As that might be true for the time being, more and more countries around Europe arepromoting lobbying laws and hard regulations. Thinking on a longer term and getting readyfor this wave of change means educating stakeholders and self-regulating the market. Anassociation is the best means to achieve this goal.


5 STRONGEST REASONS FOR AN ASSOCIATION OF LOBBYING

1. You will build trust bylobbying for benefitsamong stakeholders andbusiness community.

Rightful and ethical lobbying isuseful, legal and meaningful. Thestakeholders and the businesscommunity will see the merits oflobbying, if they trust that lobbyingis done ethically. And what waybetter to prove that if not by themeans of soft law (self-regulation)before hard law (regulation)promoted by an association?

2. You will set grounds forethical rules for lobbyistsand lobbying.

There are many examples aroundthe world where you can get yourinspiration and knowledge whensetting the ethical rules. Ethics isthe lobbyists’ “license to operate”,so careful and early attention isnecessary.

3. You will have theopportunity to lobby forthe appropriate lobbyingregulation, where the casemay arise, in the name ofan organised association.

Get prepared for the moment whena lobby law will be considered anddebated by the politicians. Andyou can be sure that moment willcome. An association is so muchmore credible in the eyes of thestakeholders, but you already knowthis, being a lobbyist.

4. You will help professionalizing theactivity of lobbying.

The activity of the association, the promotion of theethical rules, the good examples you will set as membersof a self-regulated association will start a wave of newprofessional lobbyists, whether they work in consultanciesor they are in-house lobbyists. It is not a short-termachievement to be expected, but it will come withperseverance and it will pay off.

5. If you are in the consultancy business,it will help growing your business and ifyou are on the corporate side, you will helpbuilding a community of professionals.

When you build a lobbying association, you will start avirtuous circle. The trust will grow, the lobbying market willgrow and everyone will benefit of it: consultancies will getmore business, corporates will get professional services,public policy makers will get professional interlocutors.