Lobbying. What is it? Who does?

I had the pleasure of participating in the writing of the book "Planet Paris Lobby" . Below 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 hides 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, a profession that can be learned, and whose effectiveness is measured.

In Washington DC, the capital of the United States, there are 77 lobbyists by US Congressman. In Brussels, more than 15,000 professional influencers pace 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 recognize the reality of this practice in the Palais Bourbon. Manufacturers of low energy light bulbs, managers 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 from the maker. The influence passes here by a direct contact with the policy. The study days organized in the National Assembly serve to support these practices. We know, we recognize. This is even 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 elect from the wine regions gathered in the National Association of Wine elected (ANEV) (See page XX). And when his opinion leaders do not exist, we must invent them. So Sylvain Naulin just been recruited by the TRCs, 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 earlier, 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 exchange small gifts against small amendments. The company lobbyist can even write texts in place of Parliamentary like TF1 in the context of the reform of public broadcasting. One is never better served than by oneself, the 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 Areva has been very successful in doing 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 that Oudin Santini and deputies knew well rub shoulders regularly within the World Water Council.

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In lobbying, France is akin neither 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 spent in the space of ten years by the health lobby in the US would be incongruous in France. Neither Europe. If national parliaments retain sufficient powers to that lobbies continue to be interested, the true place-making within the EU is Brussels. It even 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 confidence, 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 lobbying

Is 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 a few 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 come into the lobby (lobby) of the hotel to find it. Lobbyists so frequent the hotel lobby. So much for the story. In 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 door. This 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 industry of his new company.

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

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

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  1. David said:

    Funny ... I read in the book of Eric Eugene that the real lobbying, it is primarily 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 a completely economic. Therefore, indeed, the revolving door is only valid for lobbyists to economic interest, which is not valid in other cases.

  2. [...] Is an interesting question. For more information, read this article written by me and published in the book Lobby Planet Paris. You can also the [...]

  3. Anonymous says:

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

  4. [...] Counter lobbies water, several associations multiply actions. At 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 quintessence, namely the power policy. So I joined the E.Eugène position which considers that the lobby is provided that economic and financial issues apparaissent.En Indeed, many Example lobby that led to financial success but few are the lobby have managed to defend the public interest. Any interest group is composed of a certain mode of representation and there is much to suggest that the envisaged lobyy when it comes to the general good can be done by his representative: the people .

  6. [...] "Democracy the test of lobbying? "Three seminars for reflection and debate, 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. [...]