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Transparency high on political agenda

Across Europe 48% of political elites believe that lobbying makes a positive contribution to the democratic process. This percentage was considerably higher in countries like Hungary and Italy where 67% of respondents felt that lobbying has a positive. However, in Poland just 3% of elites feel that lobbying has a positive impact on democracy.

A freshly released study of public relations and communications consultancy firm Burson-Marsteller found wide variations in different countries in the way European political elites view and accept lobbying as a part of the governmental decision-making process.

Transparency is also a major theme of the survey. Sixty-four percent of all respondents across Europe believe that lobbyists must clearly identify themselves and their interest in any lobby group (industry or NGO) is a pre-requisite by a majority of national and EU-level regulators a declaration of interest to meet with the lobby. However, there was again differing results from country-to-country. In Spain only 26% of respondents thought transparency a pre-requisite compared to 83% in Greece. 

The findings also point to a much greater effectiveness on the part of industry when compared to NGO lobbying in all industry sectors with the exception of consumer goods, food & drink where both are equally effective. Trade associations come out as the most effective lobbying group, followed by trade unions and companies. NGOS follow in fourth place just ahead of public affairs consultancies. (BBJ Online)