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Lobbying in the EU - Exploring the Role of Alliances

Monday, 15 September, 2014 - 10:00 to Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 - 17:00
Faculty: Brussels Diplomatic Academy
Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussel
Brussels Diplomatic Academy
Brussels Diplomatic Academy
+32 (0) 2 614 8101
master class

Why are alliances important for successful representation in the European Union (EU)?  How do they look like and what are key factors for building up an efficient and effective positioning?  What steps do you need to take to have a lasting impact of alliances?
This master class will feature how alliances are built in a strategic and structural manner and cover the fact that alliances are an essential part of EU advocacy and lobbying. The program includes examples of alliances that are visibly successful in the automotive, energy building & construction as well as professional services industries.  Some alliance opportunities could be considered only for a specific short term objective, some are aimed to fulfill a long term strategic goal and yet others are “ad-hoc”.
 The course is for all professionals aiming to become actively engaged with the EU.


The master class is aimed at:
- Government affairs professionals  in corporations and associations
- Diplomats active in advocacy and EU-government relations
- NGO leaders and members
- Consultants


Alliances are important for a number of reasons – which we will explore in the program, for example: 
- Larger and wider support (representation) for a cause or issue at stake
- More than one company or group has found a useful alternative solution
- Going into the value chain of a product of issue: from producer to consumer interest
- Added value becoming more effective in the longer term, and efficient using resources

There is an increasing number of professionals active in the advocacy on EU level and national level.  Global companies and representative groups have also established a presence in Brussels and/or foothold in member states.  Diplomatic representations and NGOs have increasingly focused on the decision making in the EU.
This course will add a new dimension to the understanding of how Europe works and provide essential skills for all EU professionals.  The course is dedicated to both the theory and real case studies, both successes and failures and what can be learned from them.


The principles are set in the context of the EU’s history, of the EU procedures, consultation systems and regulation.

1. Importance of alliances
• Successful representation in the European Union (EU)
• Background of how alliances are developed
• What is the scope: geographic dimension, value chain, broadness etc
• Describing the role in the EU’s advocacy

2. Key factors for building up an efficient and effective positioning
• What are the common factors to form an alliance
• Who to include, and who is optional
• How can you anticipate the response from other stakeholders
• Is the “other side” looking for a broader solution, or not?

3. Steps for having a lasting impact of alliances
• Role of honest and open debates
• Types of relationships in a legal sense
• Value, resource or financial incentives

4. Ground-rules for any alliance building
• Legal checks and balances
• Buy-in process of those represented
• Light administration and procedures
5. Examples of alliances for a better cause
• Alliance for specific short term objective: gaining foothold in a new market situation
• Long term strategic goal: energy industry: renewable storage solution
• Mostly “ad-hoc”: car industry on a specific regulatory issue

Alfons Westgeest is Managing Partner of Kellen Europe, a professional services firm for regional, EU and global trade associations and professional societies, with focus on EU and government relations and strategic advisory services. He holds a master degree in Commercial and European law from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands and has over 30 years of experience in advising and managing business groups and representation in Brussels and Washington DC and since 2006 in Beijing, China.


The course materials will be explained and debated with participants in a structured manner. Classes will analyze Case Studies. Q&A will allow participants to learn faster. By the end of the seminar, the participants should be able to:
- Identify the various opportunities to broaden the advocacy platform
- Analyse the ways going forward in building an alliance
- Understanding the key success factors and when to say yes or no to a partner
- Making sure all ground rules are covered

The working language of the course will be English.


Before the start of the course, a syllabus compiled by the lecturer will be handed over to the participants.


Participants will receive a certificate of attendance from the Brussels Diplomatic Academy of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Examination is not compulsory. Participants who opt for the examination, will be offered a certificate from the Brussels Diplomatic Academy of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, signed by the Rector.


15-16 September 2014
15 September 2014: from 10.00 to 17.00
16 September 2014: from 13.30 – 17.00
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 5, Karel Van Miert Building.
It is building number 5 on the campus plan that can be downloaded at http://www.vub.ac.be/english/infoabout/campuses/etterbeek.html.
A description on how to find the campus is available on http://www.vub.ac.be/english/infoabout/campuses/index.html#etterbeek.
Free parking facilities are available on the campus in front of the building. A bar code gives access to the campus via campus entries 6 or 13 (see the red arrows on the campus plan). The scanner for the bar code is situated under the intercom.
A few days before the start of the event, participants will receive a bar code giving access to the parking.


The fee for this master class is 1.125 EUR.
VAT Settlement: exempted from VAT: Art 44 § 2, 4° of the VAT code.
The above prices include the registration fee and all material relating to the “Exploring the Role of Alliances” master class, as well as the coffee breaks for the duration of the event and the networking reception.
Hotel accommodation is not included in the registration fees.
Flemish companies can make use of the “KMO-portefeuille”: www.beaweb.be (Admission number BDA for “Training”: DV.O211124).

Attendees are requested to pay by bank transfer only, upon receipt of invoice.
Confirmation of registration and practical information will be sent only after receipt of payment.
Cancellations can only be accepted if received in writing to bda@vub.ac.be by 1 September 2014. Fees (less 25 euro administrative charges) will then be refunded. After this date, delegates will be liable for the full fee.
In case of cancellation, a substitution between members of the same company is still possible at any time.


To register for this master class, please fill in the online registration form below:

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Contact details 

Tel:  +32 (0) 2 614 8101
Fax: +32 (0) 2 614 8080
Email address: bda@vub.ac.be
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Postal address:
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels

Visitor’s address:
Pleinlaan 5 (ground floor)
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