The results of the Burson-Marsteller 2009 Lobbying Survey
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The results of the Burson-Marsteller 2009 Lobbying Survey. Methodology of the survey. 50 interviews in Brussels and 30 interviews were completed in: Austria, Czech, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Spain and UK.

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Methodology of the survey

  • 50 interviews in Brussels and 30 interviews were completed in:

  • Austria, Czech, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Spain and UK.

  • Audience definitions comprised of these criteria:

    •   Senior decision makers in Government or civil service occupation

    •   Interact with lobbyists very often, quite often or occasionally

    • Very or somewhat high interest in current affairs

  • The interviews were undertaken by PSB through a mixture of online, phone and face to face interviews.

  • Dates of fieldwork: October 2008– July 2009



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Who are the lobbyists?

  • The most recognised lobbyists overall are:

    • 61% :Trade associations (Germany 58%)

    • 57% : Public affairs agencies (Germany 58%)

    • 50%: NGOs (Germany 45%)

  • Recognition for these top categories of lobbyist is highest in Nordic, Austria and Brussels and generally low for most categories of lobbyist in France, Hungary and Spain.

  • A Brussels particularity: 56% of respondents deem lawyers as lobbyists starkly contrasting with the overall 24% (Germany 35%)


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What are the positive aspects of lobbying?

  • National respondents mostly viewed lobbyist as a means to raise local and national issues with a 50% average

    • This peaks in Germany (74%), the UK (72%) and Italy (70%)

  • Providing information at the right time peaks in Germany ( 65%)

  • By contrast to Brussels, the top positive aspects of lobbying are perceived as:

    • Sharing expertise : 60% (Germany 61%)

    • Ensuring the that technical information is made intelligible: 58% (48%)

    • Lobbying is a constructive part of the democratic process: 52% (48%)

  • Compared to a 48% EU average, only 3% of Polish respondents see lobbying as a constructive part of the democratic process


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    What are the negative aspects of lobbying?

    • Overall across Europe, lobbying is seen to be lacking transparency (57%) (G 65%)and not providing neutral information (55%) (G 65%)

    • 90% of Poles see lack of transparency as a major problem of lobbying (Germany 65%)

      • Figures collected in Brussels are in line with the overall average

    • In striking contrast to the overall 23% average, 58% of German regulators and politicians see lobbying as exerting an undue influence on the democratic process


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    How transparent are lobbyists?

    • NGOs received higher ratings in Northern European countries (e.g. 8.35 in Norway and 8.19in Denmark) and Brussels (7.6) (Germany 6.8)

    • Brussels regulators and politicians largely share this view, with companies being seen as most transparent (7.96) (Germany 8.0)

    • In Brussels (and generally across Europe), public affairs agencies (5.71) (Germany 6.3) are seen as somewhat more transparent than law firms (5.33) (Germany 5.45)


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    What influences you to speak to a lobbyist?

    • Transparency is, as in the countries surveyed, one of the main factors rating at 69% (Germany 74%)

    • The survey highlights that the Brussels respondents are most willing to speak to a lobbyist when the topic is in their field of expertise (73%) (Germany 71%)or if it interests them (71%) (Germany 55%)

    • Lobbiysts need to be particulary well prepared in Germany (71%) avg 40%

    • Listing on a register is a factor in deciding to speak to a lobbyist for only 29% (Germany 29%)of Brussels regulators and politicians. This contrast with an overall average low figure of 19% across Europe. This factor rates highest in Italy (50%)where there is currently no public registry for lobbyists.


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    Which are the most effective lobbyist?

    • The ranking differs slightly for Brussels were NGOs rank third with 6.42

    • Public Affairs agencies effectiveness peaks in Austria (6,72) and Germany (6,61%)

    • All categories of lobbyists in the Netherlands are perceived as less effective with rates ranging from 4.68for trade unions to 3.32 for companies

    Scale of 1 to 10




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    Which sources are used to make a decision?

    • An overwhelming 95% of respondents find that their best source is their own research, with peaks at 100% in six countries The next source of information identified are:

      • 93% : Colleagues

      • 90%: Their staff

      • 89%: National public authorities

      • 87% : Internet

  • Overall, 76% of the respondents find that the European institutions are a helpful source of information

    • Interestingly the highest score for the European institutions is in Poland (97%) and Italy (94%),then followed shortly behind by Brussels respondents (92%)

  • NGOs come last as a source of information with 60%


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    How best to best provide information

    • Overall meetings are seen by half of the respondents as the most efficient manner to communicate information. This is followed by site visits (41%) and written briefing material (35%) (Germany 48%)

      • Respondents in Poland (77%),Germany (68%) and Hungary (67%) found meetings was the most efficient manner to receive information

      • Site visits are particular popular in Norway (60%) (Germany 55 %)

      • Email and phone contacts rank far below (Germany 23/13%)


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    Key Findings for Germany

    German politicians look for a critical exchange with Lobbyists

    Lobbying seen as positive in terms of raising the importance of an issue(74%),and sharing expertise (61%) compared to a50%and47%European average

    By far the greatest concerns that lobbying can represent an undue influence on the democratic process (58%compared to a23%European average)

    Transparency and objective information are vital

    65%of German respondents see lobbying negatively when it lacks transparency and question the neutrality of lobbyists

    The receptivity of German regulators to speaking with a lobbyist depends greatly on how well the lobbyist has prepared his case (71%; European average40%)


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