Two different skills deserve special attention. One is the ability to remain cool and calm during the game, in short unagonized, in spite of all the tricks played by the opponents. Whatever happens during it, an interest group must always remain concentrated on its target in the arena, like the football player challenged by various tricks (like spitting, scolding, tackling) must keep watching only the ball, as otherwise the ball is lost. This difficult skill of remaining unagonized gives highly competitive advantage. The second special skill regards the PA research and development (R&D) for useful new resources. Many resources are so general and widespread that they hardly make a difference. The art is to develop new ones that surprise competitors and attract EU officials, thus making a difference.
The Art of Lobbying the EU – More Machiavelli in Brussels is dedicated to professionals of EU affairs, A slow, but fascinating read for the ones working in EU policies: lobbyists, officials, contractors, PermReps, NGOs, interest groups.
The author nicely summarizes, orders and analyses the techniques, tactics and strategies happening in EU politics. While it looks Machiavellian, this kind of interconnections can only happen in a democracy.
A drawback is the rather poor narrative and choice of words. The text looks like it hasn’t been proofread by a good English speaker. There are too many business words (U-turn; windows in, windows out) and some acronyms look forced.
It was fascinating to read some behind-the-door stories, see who was behind some incredible outcomes, how some political battles were taken, what mistakes were done. Framing, astro-surfing, narrowing access, influencing the right players were remainders of some realpolitik tactics used for specific outcomes, of which the professional should be aware and counter-act.
Prof. van Schendelen describes quite accurately the political process and how legislation is made, in a practical way. The numerous official and unofficial players and interactions are presented, to each given a special attention. The legislative process is followed, each step presented with the opportunities to influence.
To sum up, the book is quite technical and of interest only to those doing their bidding in EU politics.