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Telos' Blog

Jan, 2020

Lobbying in difficult times. Telos A&S point of view

Marco Sonsini of Telos A&S took part in the workshop on “Lobbying in difficult times”, where lobbyists, representatives of the Institutions and the Academia exchanged views on where lobbying as a profession stands today and how it is likely to evolve in the future.

The common thread throughout the various topics discussed was the effort to describe how the legislative discipline of our profession should look like – after so many times Parliament has failed in passing a comprehensive act.

For Telos A&S, this was a chance to restate what in our view are (or should be) the features of our profession and what principles should inspire any future legislation:

1. Lobbying does not mean to influence those who have the power to take decisions. We are not afraid of words, but words should be used according to their meaning. Lobbyists can offer politicians information and proposals that are often necessary for them to translate their agenda into effective detailed measure; what they usually cannot do (luckily enough!) is to determine their agenda. This is why we do not believe lobbying can be described as a surrogate to tackle political disintermediation

2. Sure, the goal that the (hopefully) forthcoming legislation should pursue is transparency. But we subscribe to that statement only if by transparency, we mean that every step of the legislative process should be made public and all decision-makers equally accessible for all interested actors – not if we just mean that lobbyists should enroll in a registry

3. A non-negotiable principle: lobbying as a profession and, thus, the enrollment in registries should be strictly forbidden for anyone involved in fund raising activities on behalf of political parties and other political organisations (including foundations). This is the only way to ensure that the relation between politics and the market is not only transparent but also clean.

This workshop took place at the Department of Political Sciences of the Rome Tre University on 10 January. It was sponsored and co-funded by the Italian Society of Political Science. 

For the workshop agenda click here

Lobbying in difficult times. Telos A&S point of view