IATE Term of the Week: Lobbying

Banner Lobbying

Lobbying is an important part of the legislative process, as it allows individuals and organizations to influence public policy. It can be used to advocate for a specific cause or issue, or to promote a particular agenda. The essence of lobbying involves communicating with legislators in order to persuade them on certain points of view and policies that are beneficial for those being represented. This type of advocacy often takes place through direct contact between lobbyists and lawmakers, but can also include indirect methods such as media campaigns or grassroots organizing efforts.

Some of the lobbying strategies involve building relationships with key decision makers so that they become aware of the issues at hand from multiple perspectives before making their decisions. Lobbyists must understand how legislation works in order to effectively present their case in a way that will resonate with lawmakers’ values and interests while still achieving desired objectives. Additionally, understanding current political trends helps lobbyists craft persuasive arguments by highlighting areas where changes need to be made within existing laws or regulations.

The famous Uber case is an example of how corporate lobbying can have a significant effect on policy outcomes. The ride-sharing giant attracted media attention when last July the investigation unearthed more than 124,000 documents dating from 2013 to 2017, exposing Uber’s ethically questionable practices.

Last October, Mark MacGann, Uber’s former Head of Public Policy exposed the company’s abusive business models and shady lobbying practices in a meeting with the European Parliament’s Employment Committee. MacGann also provided the Guardian newspaper with internal company documents describing how Uber executives lobbied politicians in the EU and across the world, which show that at least 40 countries are affected.

This week, on January 18, the European Parliament debated during the plenary session the revelations of the Uber lobbying practices.

Because of this and other scandals, the term ‘lobbying’ has negative connotations associated with it, which have led most lobbyists to use other terms to describe their profession: in Europe the most commonly used term is “public affairs.” Even the European Commission has dropped the term “lobbying” used in its 2006 Green Paper, and uses now  “interest representation”. Another example is the current Transparency Register set up in 2011, where the concept is being referred to as “European institutions interaction with citizen’s associations, NGO’s, business, trade and professional organizations, trade unions, think tanks, etc”.


ECD. Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 1. Increasing Transparency through Legislation. DOI:10.1787/9789264073371-en, http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/lobbyists-governments-and-public-trust-volume-1_9789264073371-en#page20 [18/01/2023]

Transparency International. Veiled in secrecy: lobbying in Europe. Posted 10 March 2014, http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/veiled_in_secrecy_lobbying_in_europe [18/01/2023]

OECD. OECD Forum on Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying. General Scheme of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2013, http://www.oecd.org/gov/ethics/Lobbying-Forum-Sessions-Material.pdf [18/01/2023]

European Public Affairs Consultancies’ Association (EPACA) > About Lobbying, http://www.epaca.org/about-lobbying/lobbying-the-concept [18/01/2023]

S&DS: Stop shady lobbying offensives by abusive digital platforms and protect workers! Socialists & Democrats. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/newsroom/sds-stop-shady-lobbying-offensives-abusive-digital-platforms-and-protect-workers

PAÍS, E. E. L. (2023, January 20). El País Edición América: El Periódico Global. El País América. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://elpais.com/

Green Paper of 3 May 2006 – European transparency initiative [COM(2006) 194 final – Official Journal C 151 of 29.6.2006]. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=legissum:l14521

Written by Laia Pérez Picó

Laia Perez Pico

Born in Alicante, Spain, Laia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting. She had the opportunity to study abroad in Canada and France thanks to different mobility programs. She also holds a Master’s degree in Institutional Translation at the University of Alicante and a second Master’s degree in Translation Technologies with an specialisation in Terminology at the University of Geneva.