As Brussels headhunters, insiders and old-timers, we are asked every week to recommend people and firms for organisations needing to expand their influence toward the EU. In conceiving this project we wanted to fill an unmet need, as until now, there has been no adequate resource to help clients identify and choose the right partner in the capital of the European Union. BestinBrussels.eu is the first and only independent resource for organisations wanting to identify, compare and choose the best partners in Brussels for their advocacy needs.
Lobbying in Brussels is a significant industry, led by well-educated, highly-skilled, knowledgeable and mostly agreeable people. Every major commercial, not-for-profit, and governmental organisation lobbies in Brussels; academic programmes educate lobbyists; and well-established professional bodies like EPACA and SEAP represent the sector and spread best practice. The lobbying sector contributes hundreds of millions of euros to the Brussels economy, and fosters better EU policy-making for business and citizens. Hence, BestinBrussels.eu is unapologetically pro-lobbying and seeks to promote best practice, the best firms and the best professionals. Our overall mission is to help connect the best Brussels lobbyists with clients.
The European Commission believes that “lobbying is a legitimate part of the democratic system, regardless of whether it is carried out by individual citizens or companies, civil society organisations and other interest groups or firms working on behalf of third parties (public affairs professionals, think-tanks and lawyers).” Hence, lobbying deserves a better reputation and thank goodness lobbying exists in the way it does in Brussels – essentially free of corruption and where what you know, is more important than who you know. In Brussels the force of rational argument and a compelling story will generally win the day; while In Beijing you cannot do anything without Communist Party connections; and in Washington DC what really counts is how much money is raised through Political Action Committees.
Transparency International recently calculated a conservative estimate for the number of Brussels lobbyists as 25,000. Many of these lobbyists work for public affairs consultancies and law firms. According to the Transparency Register there are 291 EU public affairs consultancies and 64 law firms with Brussels offices who interact with EU institutions. Some in-house practitioners outsource half of their workload to outside firms, so the ethics, professionalism and know-how of their advisors are key to how a public affairs team — and an entire organisation — are perceived by the EU institutions and important stakeholders. Choosing the Best in Brussels is therefore a critical decision for any organisation with important reputational, regulatory and political implications.
Although great work is carried out across the sector around 50 firms really drive best practice. BestinBrussels.eu examines the Brussels market and the leading consultancies and law firms, hereafter often referred to collectively as ‘firms’.
BestinBrussels.eu 2019 was first published as a report, downloadable e-book and website in February 2019.
One third of the profits of BestinBrussels.eu will be donated to UNICEF.