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Telos' Blog

Apr, 2018

Are lobbyists bad, mean and dangerous? We discussed about it at the Foreign Affairs Club

In Italy there is a lot of talk about "powerful lobbies", but few really know how the lobbyist’s job is carried out. Deep-rooted prejudice places professionals in this sector in a cloudy area, characterised by the attempt to influence policy decisions to favour one or another company. That is not the case. Professional lobbyists do not work in the shadows and do not try to influence anyone. On the contrary, they represent the interests of an organisation, that the Institutions will decide whether or not to take into account. We tried to clarify this in a conversation entitled “Bad, mean and dangerous. Phenomenology of lobbying". After an accurate introduction by Ambassador Umberto Vattani, the lobbyists Mariella Palazzolo and Marco Sonsini of Telos A&S told how their profession is carried out, what interest groups are and what objectives they pursue. The choral dialogue was moderated by Flavia Trupia of PerLaRe - Association for Rhetoric.

 "After all, diplomacy also carries out lobbying activities in favour of its own country. There are significant examples cited in history books. Costantino Nigra, Ambassador of Savoy Piedmont to France, persuaded Napoleon III to support the cause of Italian independence and to back its army’s participation in the Crimean War; or, more recently, the Ambassador Alberto Tarchiani’s action in Washington, to orchestrate the 'Just Peace for Italy' campaign after World War II. De Gasperi's 1947 trip to Washington can also be read as the result of two years of lobbying, both in the political and economic fields", said Ambassador Vattani.

"We lobbyists of today fly lower, but along these lines we find the work, commissioned by Iceland, that a network of lobbyists we are part of has carried out from 2009 to 2012, to allow the country to join the European Union. Unfortunately, in 2013 the new government of Reykjavík decided to withdraw the candidacy", added Mariella Palazzolo of Telos A&S. "But our everyday life is much more trivial. The lobbyist's job is a desk job. We spend most of our time sitting in front of the computer. A job for nerds" concluded Marco Sonsini.

The meeting " Bad, mean and dangerous. Phenomenology of lobbying" is part of the series of activities called #LobbyNonOlet, conceived by Telos A&S in 2017, with the aim of demolishing prejudices and correcting wrong information that revolves around lobbies and its protagonists.

The public has therefore discovered that too little lobbyism is being done in Italy.

A meeting that proved useful for those who do not want to cling to anachronistic positions and prefer to know how things really are.


Are lobbyists bad, mean and dangerous? We discussed about it at the Foreign Affairs Club