Associations and the new EU: opportunities and pitfalls

All seats were taken as Richard Steel presented at the inaugural session of the Association Leadership Academy on “Associations and the new EU: Opportunities and Pitfalls”.

Follow this link to download the presentation.

The engaged discussion which ensued gave rise to several key points where associations can make a difference.

In the European Parliament:

  • Cater to the priorities of the grand coalition of EPP and S&D, and seek to provide feedback to decision makers on implementation viability of EU legislation so that lessons learnt are integrated in the policy development stage
  • Galvanise German interests within your organisation; identify manufacturing or service centre hubs and coach members on the interplay between Berlin and Brussels.

In the European Commission:

  • Under the leadership of Mr Juncker, Commissioners seek to act with a Europe-wide mandate, moving away from a national oversight related to their respective Member State
  • This collegiate approach underlines the importance of interface with European Association representatives and the need for associations to create alliances and coalitions.

In general:

  • the Transparency Register is likely to become compulsory. The new requirement for Commissioners to record meeting participants in an public register is a useful source for stakeholder mapping but might reduce the number of meetings held per business sector.  Watch this development for impact on your association and members.
  • due to agreements being reached at first reading stage and the greater use of trilogues, there are less opportunities for input into the decision making process. The time lapse is also shorter, posing a real challenge for associations.

This means that, a) all strategic lobby planning and internal organisation of actors and messaging must to take place at a much earlier stage, b) encompass the entire process until final adoption and, c) include an executive group that is mandated to take quick decisions based on Europe wide information provided via national associations or members in respective Member States.

For more information please contact Dr. Rachel Barlow on or 00 32 478 88 22 27.

To register your interest for future sessions please send an email to

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