Lobby represents a set of influencing actions (direct or indirect, including through mass media) in order to inform, convince, fine, (promote or abrogate) the legislative initiatives and the public policies formulated or implemented by a decision-making power, to support legitimate interests. Lobbying refers to the exercise of pressure on politicians, public authorities and, more broadly, decision-makers. Lobbying is a mode of action, often unobtrusive, as opposed to mass demonstrations that mobilize a large number of people.
Examples of lobbying activities: knowledge of decision-making circuits, informing decision-makers, establishing high-level relationships, setting up networks, providing expertise, participating in study groups, organizing conferences, visits, drafting amendments to a draft law, etc.
Lobby in the European Union versus Lobby in the US
A large number of lobbyists have been operating in Brussels for years, registering about 20,000, a number that is not reflected in the Transparency Register, where we find about 6,000 entries. The justification is somewhat at hand, the first figure reflects the number of natural persons who act as lobbyists. The justification is somewhat at hand, the first figure reflects the number of natural persons who act as lobbyists at / next to the European institutions, while the second refers to the number of lobbying organizations. Lobbying at EU level is based on an agreement between the European Parliament and the European Commission on setting up a transparency register for organizations and individuals engaged in independent activities involved in the process of developing and implementing EU policies. The purpose of this agreement is to allow the registration of all activities carried out in order to directly or indirectly influence the elaboration or implementation of policies or decisions by the EU institutions. There is a Transparency Register, and the registration in this is done on a voluntarily, online and includes identification data and persons involved in the lobbying activity. The Register provides rules governing the conduct of the Lobbyists, the categories of persons/organizations that can register, the mechanism for resolving complaints and measures applicable in the case of non-compliance with the code of conduct. In the EU, relations between lobbyists and decision-makers are built over time and based on a level of trust, while in the US the relationship is based on an „adverse culture”. If in the United States of America the defensive lobby is met as a tactic, the idea of stopping or annihilating a legislative activity is not found in the European Union’s lobby culture.
Self-regulation of lobbying activity in Romania
Lobbying and advocacy is an integral part of Romania’s democratic process and is a right guaranteed by the constitution.
In order to promote good practices in lobbying and advocacy activities and to help maintain and increase public confidence, confidence in democratic institutions and the process of public policy implementation, practitioners in lobbying and advocacy have taken important steps in self-regulation.
The self-regulation system initiated consists of:
- Code of Ethics of Lobby and Advocacy Practitioners;
- The Transparency Register of Lobby and Advocacy Activities;
- Commission for the Supervision of the Transparency Register;
Code of Ethics of Lobby and Advocacy Practitioners
Those who practice lobby and advocacy must act ethically and morally in their relations with all parties involved and have a duty to contribute to the public understanding of this type of activity. The Code of Ethics of Lobby and Advocacy Practitioners provides basic guidelines and standards for the conduct of stakeholder representatives. The code is intended for all organizations that carry out lobbying and advocacy activities and who wish to be registered in the Transparency Register. They are strongly encouraged to respect the code and to always practice high ethical conduct in their efforts to influence public decisions.