Overview

This unconventional and interdisciplinary course focuses on how the business world is increasingly affected by the European Union. It is about how to do business in Europe, how to lobby the policy process and to understand how Europe works. In the aftermath of the Euro-debt crisis, Europe has become more, not less, important than its national economies. More than 70% of the regulations currently in force in Europe originate not from the national Parliaments but from the European decision-making process taking place in Brussels. This legislation applies to virtually all the business activities taking place in Europe regardless of whether they are registered in the EU or in third countries, such as India, China or the US. Given the recent establishment of an economic governance framework, the EU is also set to determine the overall economic conditions of your future EU business activity. As a result no business leader, lawmaker, lobbyist or consultant may effectively operate in Europe without a solid understanding of the European decision-making process and its overall institutional architecture.

European regulations today touch upon issues as diverse as mergers and acquisitions, safety standards, labelling of consumer products, financial regulations and antitrust rules. Regardless of your future sector of activity, you will need to know how, when and where decisions are taken in order to be able to influence them at the EU level. What if the European Commission will withdraw your marketing authorisation for a given product or service (i.e. pharmaceutical, chemical or 4G license)? What if the Commission proposes to prohibit the advertising of your activity (i.e. financial production, food and beverages, other consumer products) or sanction your company for an antitrust violation (i.e. cartel, abuse of dominant position)? In sum, how to counter EU regulatory decisions, product bans or negative EU media exposure?

This course, by addressing some of these questions, will help you to understand the macro regulatory framework applicable to any economic activity in Europe (banking, merchandising and marketing, finance, consumer products, transports, public procurement, etc). Finally, the objective of the course is to show participants not to look at regulation through rose-coloured lenses, expecting it to deliver beneficial results for the targeted groups. If lobbying is a reality, you had better know the rules of the game.

Learning outcomes

European Affairs aims at familiarizing the participants with the European public sphere, by training them on how to better interact with the EU institutions and on how to mitigate their negative effects on your business. After introducing the participants to its institutional setting and the decision-making process, a particular attention will be paid to the lobbying activities systematically undertaken by all business players inside and outside the EU institutions in Brussels and in the national capitals.