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Richard Steel

Richard Steel, Senior Associate

Interel

Richard.steel@interelgroup.com

My Job

I am part of Interel’s Sustainability and Mobility team, advising clients on a range of issues, with particular focus on the European Parliament. I handle a lot of the horizontal institutional issues (Brexit, EP elections etc) and give a number of presentations on latest developments in the EU. I write a number of articles, including the  monthly Postcard from Strasbourg, a light-hearted take on the plenary session.

My Experience

I came to Brussels in 1985 as a student and somehow never left. After the well-trodden path of Bruges, stage, MEP assistant, I set up Archimede in 1989 to meet a growing demand to provide in-depth coverage of EP committees. Many years later, and after countless Strasbourg plenary sessions, I moved to Interel in 2010.

My Proudest Achievements

Launching VoteEurope, Interel’s guide to the 2014 and 2019 European parliament elections. This involved co-ordinating input from our independent partners across Europe to provide local knowledge and colour on the current political climate, the candidates, the results and the key newcomers to watch out for. This meant we were able to advise clients at an early stage on who was standing down, who was riding high on the lists and what the national polls were indicating in terms of results.

My Education

I have an MA (1st class honours) in Contemporary European Studies at the University of Dundee. My 2nd year was spent on a one year exchange at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where the travel bug hit. On graduation, I went to the College of Europe in Bruges, where the EU bug hit even harder.

My Languages

English and French.

My Interests outside work

I love sports – playing if I can (tennis, golf), cheering on my sons (rugby, athletics) or shouting at the TV screen (supporting the Scottish rugby team should come with a health warning). I’m active in my local church and was a Sunday school teacher for a number of years. I enjoy travel, camping and mountains with the family and the dog.

My Favourite Brussels anecdote

The lobbyist I most enjoyed watching at work was the RSPCA’s man in Brussels in the late 1980’s, Mike Seymour-Rouse, who helped run the animal welfare intergroup. He had snowy white hair, spoke with a military clip and enjoyed the gastronomic delights of Strasbourg. After a boozy lunch on the Pinot Noir, he would go to the Parliament’s sick bay, complain of dizziness given his grand age and be offered a bed for a short nap, followed by a cup of tea from the nurse. That’s resourcefulness for you. He also seemed to know everyone, including the imposing figure of Ian Paisley. The story goes that as Paisley was storming down the corridor after being evicted from the Chamber for calling the visiting Pope the anti-Christ, he still had time to turn to Mike and menacingly whisper “how’s the pussycats?”.

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