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EU Public Affairs & Lobbying


Admission requirements

At least BSA (40 ects).


It has been estimated that currently over half to three quarters of legislation that applies on national level originates from Brussels. This is largely unknown to the general public. Annually the EU machinery produces approximately 2500 laws and acts that can have a major impact on businesses and citizens. Because of these laws and acts, companies may have to change their product or labelling or a product can be banned from the market altogether. Therefore, being able to monitor and influence this legislation is of major importance and can sometimes even be a matter of survival.

Public Affairs can be defined as “the strategic process of anticipating political decision-making, changes in society and public opinion that could have an impact on the organisation’s ability to operate successfully” (Dutch Association for Public Affairs, 2013). Lobbying is sometimes used as a synonym, but is actually part of this process. It is estimated that there are 20.000 EU lobbyists working for companies, NGO’s and other organizations, indicating that lobbying is an accepted and widespread part of the EU system. In comparison: there are approximately 50.000 civil servants working for the institutions, the main lobby targets.

As was the case with the current Lisbon Treaty, the EU’s competences have increased with every new Treaty since its inception. New policy areas were added, the European Parliament has increased its influence as co-legislator and most decisions on EU legislation can now be made by qualified majority so that countries can be bound against their wishes. Furthermore, the EU has expanded from 6 to 28 members, greatly increasing the diversity of interests and number of stakeholders. These developments have had a major impact on governments and organizations alike as well as on Public Affairs management.

In this course you will be made familiar with the art of lobbying the EU. First we will the discuss the mayor EU developments that have had an impact on the way EU public affairs is conducted today. Then we will discuss the methods and techniques of EU public affairs along its main dimensions: monitoring, political intelligence, strategy, networks, lobbying and institutional communication. Finally we will debate the role of lobbying in the EU system and how it relates to EU democracy.

The course will use a variety of sources (for example books, journal articles, policy documents from the European institutions and guest speakers).

Course objectives

This course will provide students with an understanding of the theory and practice of EU Public Affairs and lobbying. Students will become acquainted with the tools & techniques of EU Public affairs and learn how to work with them in a multi-level arena. This includes when, where and how to intervene in EU decision-making processes, influencing EU policy and legislation.


See website Minor EUS.

Mode of instruction


Course load

Total course load is 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours:

  • course participation (12 × 2 hours = 24 hours);

  • time for studying the compulsory literature and preparation for the lectures (4 × 12 ours = 48 hours);

  • preparing the in class presentation (8 hours);

  • researching and writing the end of term paper (60 hours).

Assessment method

The final mark will be a combination of the following notes obtained during the classes, weighted in the following way:

  • take active part in class discussions (20%);

  • give a presentation (20%);

  • write a policy paper on this topic (60%).

There will be a retake for the policy paper.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

The compulsory literature for weekly readings will be made available during the course.


Via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.




Dhr. R. de Bruijn MA