Lobbying. What is it? Who does it?

I had the pleasure of participating in the writing of the book "Lobby Planet Paris" . Following one of my papers.

Discover the summary of the book here.

"Lobby. Male name. Plural, lobbies. Pressure group that aims to influence decision-making according to their interests. " Behind the literal dictionary definition lies the diversity of the nature of lobbying. The latter is the result of a set of coordinated actions from a group of individuals or organizations. But the real question is not so much who holds the reins in their modes of action and their compliance with the democratic principles of our societies. We are all potential influencers, but all lobbies are not equal in terms of power and resources. Today it is a profession, trade, that is learned, and whose effectiveness is measured.

In Washington DC, the capital of the United States, there are 77 lobbyists for US Congressman. In Brussels, more than 15,000 professional influencers roam the corridors of the commission and parliament. In Paris, the reality is less quantifiable. The practice of lobbying in France is less institutionalized, almost ashamed, often hidden. Things could change. Under the leadership of its president, Bernard Accoyer, the National Assembly has recently adopted a code of conduct on lobbying (See page XX). In doing so, the French elected officials recognize the reality of this practice in the Palais Bourbon. Manufacturers of low energy light bulbs, directors of TV channels, the nuclear industry, eventually all those with vested interests, have made a specialty of getting under their gauntlet amendments, laws, orders, when they were not themselves the cause.

Inside and outside lobbying

Lobbying actions can be classified into two broad categories: the inside and outside lobbying. The first is to promote a cause directly to the decision maker. The influence going on here through direct contact with policy. The study days organized in the National Assembly used to support these practices. We know, we recognize. It is much easier when the member was himself employee group that seeks to convince or himself a former lobbyist, as Frédéric Lefebvre, former head of Pic Council lobbying firm on the Paris market. The doctor will represent the medical world. Primum non nocere. First do no harm ... to its interests. Ditto for his chosen wine regions gathered in the National Association of Wine elected (ANEV) (See page XX). And when his opinion leaders do not exist, it is necessary to invent them. So Sylvain Naulin just been recruited by the CEEV a wine pro-white-wine mixture lobby roug e to make rosé, which resulted in the wrath of the producers of this wine against this EU proposal. A few months ago, Sylvain Naulin was a member of the cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture ... to negotiate this legislative development.


When the caste phenomenon is not enough, we prompt. Then exchanged small gifts against small amendments. The company lobbyist can even write texts in place of the Parliamentary like TF1 in the context of the reform of public broadcasting. One is never better served than by oneself saying goes that proves an undeniable relevance here.

The outside lobbying, meanwhile, research influence in the outskirts of the usual circles. The target here is the public that is sensitive, and for good reason, elect. Public relations, media relations, advertising campaign in the media, the idea is to guide public opinion, the citizens, to take a stand ... or not. This is what Areva has been very successful to do in Niger (See page XX). In the case of the Oudin-Santini law (See page XX), is the measure on international cooperation that has been put forward for the promotion of a very conscious act of the interests of multinational water. Multinationals and the Oudin Santini familiar to rub shoulders regularly within the World Water Council.

0 Le lobbying. Quest ce que cest ? Qui le fait ?

In lobbying, France is akin or the United States of America or the European Union. Neither the United States because, unlike their American counterparts, French parliamentarians do not need private funds to finance their election campaigns. The 3.4 billion euros spent in the space of ten years by health lobbies in the US would be incongruous in France. Nor to Europe. If national parliaments retain sufficient powers to that lobbies continue to show interest, the real point of decision in the EU Brussels. There we find the same lobbyists mandated by the US government to influence European legislation in favor of US interests! In front of the subjects more technical and less political, the risk is that the discussion be confiscated by experts replacing the representatives. The complexity of the laws, their diversity, their number also render opaque to the public eye and permeable lobbies practices many debates. If in a democratic society, transparency is not necessarily the corollary of the trust, the first seems indispensable to remain second. This requires lobbying ethics whose objective would be to fill the doubts and suspicions decrease. A confidence against a conscience, when a Hippocratic Oath lobby?

Box 1. History of lobbying

Attributed to US President Ulysses Grant, hero of the Civil War, the popularization of the term lobbyist. In 1869, Grant became president. White House destroyed by fire some years ago, can not accommodate it. He finds refuge in a hotel, the Willard. The new toured Washington and all those who have something to ask him just in the lobby (lobby) of the hotel to find it. Lobbyists so frequent the hotel lobby. So much for the story. Britain already, where the term refers to lobby the corridors of parliament was called lobbyists, these influencers wandering the corridors of the British Parliament.

Box 2. Glossary

Revolving doors. It is the action to a former senior official to go private. This can cause problems when in the performance of his previous duties he had to control the business of his new company.

Study Group. The National Assembly has a hundred. The Senate just under thirty. Everyone brings together parliamentarians on specific topics: the Arctic, vineyards, chestnut or the coast.

Networking. On the occasion of formal and informal meetings, members of a network, organized around a theme, meet and exchange information, advice, services, recommendations ...

  • gmail Le lobbying. Quest ce que cest ? Qui le fait ?


  1. David said:

    Funny ... I read in the book of Eric Eugene the real lobbying, it is first groups that try to influence for "economic interests" or financial and strictly!

    So out the idea of ​​gay lobby, Jewish, green, etc ... The lobby has an entirely economic. Thus, in fact, the revolving door is only valid for lobbies economic interest, which is not valid in other cases.

  2. [...] Is an interesting question. To learn more, read this article written by me and published in the book Lobby Planet Paris. It is also can [...]

  3. admin said:

    Good evening David
    The definition of lobbying in France is still unclear. It can indeed be defined as the action of influence (in the professional sense), but by extension it becomes to influence the action including regarding the actions of general interest. But the debate remains open.

  4. [...] Counter lobbies water, several associations multiply actions. In Anticor, the crowdfunding [...]

  5. doudou says:

    It does not seem logical to consider that the lobyy can be done within the framework of the general interest. Let me explain: the companies in charge of public service mission and monopoly or quasi-monopoly can not be lobbying for a very simple reason, they can not to lobby their essence, namely the power policy. So I joined the E.Eugène position which considers that the lobby is when the economic and financial issues apparaissent.En Indeed, many Example lobby that led to financial success but few are the lobby have been able to defend the public interest. Any interest group is composed of a certain mode of representation, and there is much to suggest that the possible lobyy when it comes to the general interest can not be done by his representative: the people .

  6. [...] "Democracy the test of lobbying? "Three seminars for reflection and debate in the National Assembly June 1, 2010 2 views No Comments Here is a reproduction of a press release of CAL network and Adéquations about a seminar on lobbying. [...]