07 December 2018 — Issue #24
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FOUR THINGS TO KNOW THIS WEEK
1. SALVINI’S DREAM OF A NEW EUROPE: The GPAC was present at the POLITICO 28 gala in Brussels on Monday to witness Florian Eder’s interview of Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who claimed: “I believe in Europe (…) It was a fantastic dream that is on the verge of being destroyed. We’re going to do our best to save Europe.” Reminder: POLITICO Europe isn’t handing out prizes for good Europeans, only those who will have an important impact — positive or otherwise, via POLITICO Brussels Playbook.
2. MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH ON TRANSPARENCY FOR MEPS: Yesterday, the Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) Committee of the European Parliament voted for the first time for binding lobby transparency for MEPs. MEPs who co-author EU laws as rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs and committee chairs, will need to publish any meetings they have had with interest representatives that fall under the scope of the EU Transparency Register. The new rules will come into effect in February, if agreed during a vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament in January, via The Greens/European Free Alliance.
3. BREXIT NEWS — LEGAL TRAUMA VERSUS LEGAL ADVICE: Advocate General Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona of the European Court of Justice argued that Article 50 can be withdrawn unilaterally by a departing country without the agreement of other member countries, prompting fear among EU diplomats, reports POLITICO Pro. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox gave legal advice to Theresa May’s government. The reactions by parliamentarians, once published, were that it only further outlined the central weaknesses in the government’s Brexit deal, via POLITICO Pro.
4. LOBBYING WAR ON PLATFORM-TO-BUSINESS PROPOSAL: European lawmakers are turning light-touch rules for online platforms into hard-hitting legislation, in a last effort to come down on Big Tech ahead of 2019’s elections. For a summary of the ongoing battleground, read the article via POLITICO Pro.
NEW ON THE TRANSPARENCY REGISTER
EU REGISTER WEEKLY RECAP: This week sees a regular number of registrations, but low levels of estimated costs. There are 21 new declarations, of which a majority (14) are “in-house lobbyists and professional associations”.
NOTABLE ENTRY: The top spender this week is Norwegian consultancy firm Marlo, with estimated costs attributable to actions covered by the register of €200,000-€299,999 to participate in “the EU Framework and other programs for research and development in the area of transport and logistics”. The runner-up is Cleantech Bulgaria, a consultancy firm that hopes to “introduce resource-efficient solutions leading to a shift to new business models” with estimated costs attributable to actions covered by the register of €100,000-€199,999, via the EU Transparency Register.
CANADA — TRANSPARENCY WEEKLY UPDATE: Collectively, there were 60 new registrations filed last week at the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada register, representing a significant uptick from the 22 recorded the week prior when the House and Senate were not sitting, via iPolitics.
UNITED-STATES — MISSOURI LOBBYISTS MAKES CITIZENS INTO LOBBYISTS: The Missouri Society of Governmental Consultants, a professional association of lobbyists argued in a complaint to the Missouri Ethics Commission, that citizens’ rights to petition the government amount to a violation of state transparency laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled 2:1 in favor of the argument, as the Kansas City Star and the Washington Examiner report.
WHAT CAUGHT OUR EYE AROUND THE WORLD
LONDON, U.K. — BUILDERS CRITICISED FOR LOBBYING AGAINST ACCESSIBLE HOMES: Only 7 percent of homes were classed as accessible and the Home Builders Federation (HBF) claims that building to a higher accessibility standard would cost more. The HBF represents highly profitable housing firms including Persimmon, which recorded gross profits of £565 million in the first six months of this year, during which it built 8,000 new homes, a margin per home of about £70,000, via The Guardian.
QUEBEC, CANADA — SWEDISH PHARMA FIRM RESPONDS TO ‘DUMPING’ RULING : Three separate lobbyists filed new registrations last week on behalf of the Canadian branch of Sobi to arrange meetings with policymakers to discuss potential anti-dumping sanctions by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, which affect the drug producer. The new registration from Philip Delistoyanov of 3Sixty Public Affairs explicitly links the lobbying activity to allegations of dumping nitisinone capsules into the Quebec market, via iPolitics.
WASHINGTON, U.S. — GM AND TESLA LOBBY TO EXTEND TAX CREDIT ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Members of Congress all got letters on their desks Tuesday stating why the electric-car tax credit should be revised and extended. Along with a publicly available five-point fact sheet, the effort is the first in a battle by the newly formed EV Drive Coalition to extend the plug-in vehicle tax credit which currently awards $7,500 for every electric car purchase. This tax-credit is expiring for GM and Tesla next year, via Green Car Reports.
DAKAR, SENEGAL — ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES GOOD GOVERNANCE PRIZE: Ndéye Ramatoulaye Guèye Diop, in charge of the initiative at the Senegalese Ministry of Good Governance and Child Protection, claims the good governance prize will reward successful initiatives from within the government, via Afriquinfos.
JAKARTA, PHILIPPINES — LOBBY GROUPS WANT MORE TALKS ON TAXATION BILL: Two major lobby groups, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin Indonesia) and the Employers’ Association of Indonesia (Apindo), have welcomed the House of Representatives’ decision to delay the deliberation of the General Taxation System bill. They argue that the postponement, initially targeted to be completed this year, would give stakeholders time to voice their views, via The Jakarta Post.
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — TECH COMPANIES COULD LEAVE COUNTRY OVER ENCRYPTION BILL: The lobby group for the country’s biggest firms, the Communications Alliance, warned that tech companies may choose to leave the Australian market to avoid being forced to install spyware on their devices and networks at the request of intelligence agencies. The alliance represents dozens of tech companies operating in Australia, from the largest telcos Telstra and Optus, to the National Broadband Network, to the local operations of tech giants Google and Apple, via SBS News.
WASHINGTON, U.S. — PHARMA’S LOBBYING EFFORT TO SAVE $4 BILLION: The pharmaceutical industry has one last chance this year to get Congress to undo the added discounts it must provide to seniors in Medicare’s drug coverage gap. The pharmaceutical industry will try to attach language to the spending bill that Congress must pass by today, to change the discounts and reap a $4 billion windfall, via the Washington Examiner.
5W PUBLIC RELATIONS NAMED AS TOP 20 HEALTH CARE PR FIRM: Leading PR and communications publication, O’Dwyers has named 5W Public Relations a top 20 Health Care PR Agency in the U.S., via PR Newswire.
ORLA TINSLEY HONORED BY PUBLIC RELATIONS INSTITUTE OF IRELAND: Cystic fibrosis campaigner and journalist Orla Tinsley was awarded The President’s Medal at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland for her health campaigning, via The Irish Times.
CICERO CONSULTING WINS CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: Cicero Consulting landed the Consultancy of the Year award at this year’s Public Affairs Awards. Iain Anderson’s agency saw off competition from agencies including rival Hanover Communications and fast-growing Lodestone to grab the coveted award, via Public Affairs News.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
MATTHEW CORNELIUS GETS PROMOTED: Airports Council International — North America has promoted Matthew Cornelius to executive vice president. He was previously vice president of air policy. Deborah McElroy, the trade group’s current executive vice president, will retire at the end of the year, via POLITICO Influence (PI).
THE WATER FOUNDATION HIRES DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: Niketa Kumar started this week as director of communications for the Water Foundation. She was previously a vice president in Berlin Rosen’s national division, via PI.
FTI CONSULTING BRINGS BACK SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR: Brent McGoldrick has rejoined FTI Consulting as senior managing director in the strategic communications practice. He was previously chief executive of Deep Root Analytics, via PI.
SAN FRANSISCO NEW OFFICE HEAD: Monument Policy Group has hired Gideon Lett to head its new office in the San Francisco Bay area. He was previously vice president of TechNet, via PI.
NEW DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS FOR COX ENTERPRISES: Jennifer Humphrey is joining Cox Enterprises as director of government affairs. She was previously a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator John Boozman, via PI.
SENIOR HIRES FOR IPSOS PUBLIC AFFAIRS IN INDIA: Ipsos in India has appointed Dr Srikant Patel as executive director for social research and Dr RB Gupta as executive director within its public affairs social research and opinion polling division, via Mrweb.
FORMER U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY PUBLIC AFFAIRS CHIEF JOINS KGLOBAL: Kglobal, one of the nation’s most innovative and dynamic communications firms, has hired public affairs veteran Andy Beck as managing director, via OilandGas360.
SCOTTISH MEP BECOMES CEO: Catherine Stihler, a Scottish Socialist MEP, will become the CEO of Open Knowledge International in February 2019, via POLITICO Pro EU Influence.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s GPAC weekly round-up.
Stay tuned for next Friday’s edition!