A Czech lobbyist in Brussels on the approach in Prague

Martin Duda, photo: www.cebre.cz

What is the difference between lobbying in the Czech Republic and abroad? Martin Duda is the deputy director at Czech Business Representation, which represents several Czech business associations at EU bodies in Brussels. The lobbyist who has worked in the Czech Republic and abroad explained why lobbyists in the capital of the European Union have a much better reputation than those in Prague.

"The quite big difference between lobbying in the Czech Republic and in the EU is that in the frame of atmosphere in Brussels, lobbying is quite normal. It's not seen as a negative activity. And I think concerning ethical aspects, I think that it should be the same everywhere, and so it differs organization from organization, man from man. So it depends on you personally: in which way you want to lobby [and] how much you want to follow the ethical aspects of lobbying."

What about the regulations that affect you as a lobbyist in Brussels? Are they different from those here in the Czech Republic?

Photo: European Commission
"Well, I think that there are no regulations in the Czech Republic, and it's the same for Brussels. There is no regulation which couldn't afford me to do anything, and so maybe what I would like to say is that the lobbying here is not considered to persuade people from the European Commission that this project must be approved. So it's not about persuading the officer who will evaluate this project."

You mentioned that in Brussels the reputation of lobbyists is better. What makes it bad in the Czech Republic?

"The feeling that things can be handled in a much simpler way - that it's just only to know the right people in parliament or at the ministry, and then it's not important to follow the whole procedures. Some people think it's good just to be at the end when the funds are allocated and to be in contact with members of the Czech parliament or with the important people at the ministries, and then it will be okay."