European Centre for Public Affairs

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"The European Centre for Public Affairs Ltd (ECPA), founded in 1986 at Templeton College, Oxford, is a not-for-profit organisation under English law. It is run by an Executive Director, supported by a small staff. The ECPA Management Board brings together its corporate members and academics to advise the Executive Director on programme development and research topics.

The ECPA has particular expertise in public affairs practice in the European Union. It works closely with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Presidency and national governments of the Union to develop understanding of the evolving process of governing Europe. It teaches introductory and specialist programmes on public affairs practice in the Union's institutions. ECPA Government Training teaches an extended series of seminars for national Presidencies and courses for civil servants from the applicant states. ECPA Civil Society works with NGOs and others in the Third Sector." [1]


The ECPA was set up in 1986 to 'record, analyse and improve the conduct of public affairs' in European Union institutions. Based at Surrey University, the body conducts research programmes and training each year for PA practitioners, civil servants, and managers and staff of NGOs... ECPA faces issues such as the implications for governments and businesses of the EU's planned east-wards enlargement; the increasing take-up across the EU of corporate social responsibility initiatives; and changes to the EU's regulatory framework.[2]
Procter & Gamble director of corporate external relations Erik Jonnaert has been appointed chairman of European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA)... Brussels-based Jonnaert set up P&G's European PA office in the Belgiuan capital ten years ago and became deputy chairman of the ECPA in 2000... He said: 'It's important to continue the research we have built up over the years. It's also important to ensure that research carried out is relevant to current business needs. There's always a danger that re-search can become insular, so it's crucial that it can add real value to companies.' He added: 'There is an increasing demand for companies to make themselves more transparent to gov-ernments and vice versa.' Jonnaert replaced former chairman Henry Stenson - Ericsson vice-president of corporate comms - in the chairman's role two weeks ago. In accordance with the ECPA's rotation system, Stenson becomes deputy chairman of the management board.[3]

Lobbying for lobbying

The ECPA exist to defend the lobbying industryand is attempting to engage in the debate about regulation of lobbyists. In June 2006 PR Week reported that the Centre:

is to solicit proposals from consultancies on how they would improve the image of public affairs... with the winning programme provided pro bono.

The subterranean and deceptive tactics used by lobbyists mean it has a poor public image, as the ECPA recognises:

ECPA deputy chairman Michael Burrell said it was 'important that the industry promotes and defends itself'. Burrell said 'it is a close to insuperable challenge to actually promote positive news stories about what (the PA industry) does'. But, he added, when the media do unearth negative stories about the PA industry, its representative bodies could use them to try and 'seize the opportunity to talk about how we operate'.[4]

... and lobbying for business

The ECPA also performs a function in alerting corporations to the need for training in EU procedures and in the need for lobbying services. This has been so from the beginning. For example in 1988 the Financial Times reported the views of Tom Spencer:

Retailers were unaware of and unprepared for the enormous changes in the business environment that would result from a single European market in 1992, according to Mr Tom Spencer, an executive director of the European Centre for Public Affairs, Templeton College, Oxford... He was addressing retailers at a conference on the internationalisation of retailing held by Coopers & Lybrand, the international accountancy firm.[5]

Training Brussels lobbyists

ECPA launched it postgraduate qualification in 1996:

The Oxford-based European Centre for Public Affairs has joined forces with the Europe Information Service, publisher of European Report, to launch what it claims is the first post-graduate qualification for public affairs professionals. Robin Pedler, director of ECPA and director of studies for its new Brussels training centre, said the launch would answer concerns among some EU institutions that there were few guarantees of professionalism among public affairs practitioners.[6]

A description of one of their course:

A group of dedicated students meets in a classroom close to the concrete jungle of European institu-tions in Brussels. This is no ordinary evening class, but a programme designed to train lobbyists in the art of schmoozing, stroking and subtly influencing decision makers in the European Union. Here, Euro executives learn the art of "coalition building" and developing "the methodology of a lobbying campaign". They undergo multiple choice tests on their knowledge of EU bodies or examine a case study on the banana trade regime. Each student is introduced to a "godfather", a senior consultant who will act as his or her guide through the labyrinthine maze of European institutions. At the end of this programme, run by the European Centre for Public Affairs, a Brussels think-tank, every successful participant is awarded a certificate.[7]



Chairman - Erik Jonnaert, General Manager External Relations Western Europe, Procter & Gamble.

Deputy Chairmen

Executive Director - Tom Spencer Visiting Professor of Public Affairs, Brunel University


In 1999, the Independent reported: 'Tom Spencer, former leader of the Conservative group in Brussels, receives lecture fees from the European Centre for Public Affairs, of which his wife, Elizabeth, is also a director. Mrs Spencer is director of Jeremy Kane International and European Public Policy Advisers'.[8]


Its members, as listed on its website include:

"Corporate membership is open to any company operating in Europe. There is an annual membership fee of Euro 7750." [9]

Books and publications


  • Robin Pedler 'Like cows to the slaughter', The Times April 18, 1996, Thursday.


  • Lobbying the European Union (Dartmouth Publishing Company pounds 37.50), the first book on lobbying the EU since the Maastricht Treaty, was published last week. Editors Robin Pedler, director of the European Centre for Public Affairs, and Rinus van Schendelen of Rotterdam University have collated case histories from ten commercial and four non-commercial lobbying campaigns, in a bid to analyse different approaches.[10]

Conferences and events

  • The State of Public Affairs 2005: 4th ECPA Annual Conference: Putting the EU Puzzle Together? Conference organised by the European Centre for Public Affairs, held on February 17 at the Dorint Hotel in Brussels, Boulevard Charlemagne 11-19. To register: or for further information: Ron Kingham, tel: 00 44 870 444 2760 or e-mail:[11]
  • The European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA) is gearing up for a year of change in the EU with a series of conferences to educate PA practitioners. ECPA executive director Tom Spencer said the conferences would help practitioners understand the impact of changes such as the introduction of new member states and an agreement on the Constitutional Treaty. The first conference, 'Dealing With the New Brussels X', takes place in Brussels from 26 to 28 April 2004. Speakers include DG Enlargement deputy head of cabinet Christian Danielsson, and EP Environment head of the secretariat Francis Jacobs. Further programmes include 'EU Process After Enlargement' in Brussels on 27 May.[12]
  • From November 3-8 2002, EIS-ECPAB (European Centre for Public Affairs Brussels, part of [[Europe Information Service[[) and the EPC (ppEuropean Policy Centre[[) organised in collaboration with the Canadian Government and the Canadian Mission to the European Union, a week's seminar for a group of 30 Canadian diplomats being posted to Europe this year. Participants came from 15 EU and enlargement country capitals as well as from Ottawa, and included several Heads of Mission. The seminar programme, entitled "Thinking Europe, Working Together", broadly covered the EU institutions and actors, current EU priorities, and the future of Europe - as seen by the EU institutions and Member States and by observers from the media and centres of research. A series of specialist modules covered, amongst others, the following themes: EU external relations; trade and development; justice and home af-fairs; and research and development co-operation.Contacts: Lucyna Gutman-Grauer, EIS-ECPAB Tel: (+32) 2/737 7710, Marie-Laure Tortel, The EPC Tel: (+32) 2/286 9375.[13]
  • September 2001: 'I fly to Brussels for the launch of the JPA in Europe, sponsored by the European Centre for Public Affairs. We reflect on those in the public affairs industry who have lost their lives.'(Phil Harris)[14]
  • The European Centre for Public Affairs is holding a Seminar on "Public Affairs in the New Union: Players and Rules" on 19 and 20 January 1995 at the Faculty Club at Louvain, Belgium. CONTACT: Adrienne Pratt, Templeton College Tel: +44 856 735422, Fax: +44 865 736374[15]
  • PR Week is to a sponsor a live crisis management event on September 29 1993 in Oxford. Called Managing a corporate crisis in today's instant news society', the event will be a Socratic dialogue' - similar in style to Channel 4's Hypotheticals series. Expert panellists play roles in a crisis, reacting to a hy-pothetical situation developed by a moderator. The moderator will be SmithKline Beecham vice-president of corporate affairs Richard Torrenzano. The event is hosted by the European Centre for Public Affairs and the Global Public Affairs Institute. Guest panellists for the crisis management event, which will take place at Templeton College, include: Sir Geoffrey Pattie MP, CNN's London bureau chief, David Feingold, US attorney Elliot Kaplan, and the editor of Wall Street Journal Europe, Philip Revzin. The panel discussion will be followed by dinner in Templeton College. Tickets for the event, which is part of a four-day Global Public Affairs seminar arranged by the ECPA and GPAI, cost pounds 75 each. For more details about the event contact Adrienne Pratt, European Centre for Public Affairs, Templeton College, Oxford OX1 5NY (Tel: 0865 735422).[16]
  • The Global Public Affairs Institute,... has conducted a series of intensive, highly acclaimed seminars for corporate public affairs and communications executives focusing on key international issues directly affecting the business community and on key communications functions for which public affairs staff is responsible. The member companies include AT&T, Boeing, Citicorp, Exxon Corporation, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Warner Lambert, Cigna Corporation, Hill and Knowlton, Burson Marsteller, Rockwell International, Bristol-Myers Squibb, General Motors and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph. A cooperative arrangement with the European Centre for Public Affairs at Oxford University resulted in a jointly sponsored seminar at Oxford in 1991. A second version of this seminar will be presented Sept. 13-17, 1992, also at Oxford, and is open to qualified executives of multinational corporations. The institute is conducting a research project to identify and analyze the methods and structure through which multinational companies are managing their public affairs response to the globalizing trends in the world market.[17]
  • Topic '92: Public Affairs in the European Union. Conference organised by the European Centre for Public Affairs. April 8-11 1992 at Templeton College Oxford. Information from Adrienne Pratt, Templeton College, Oxford. Tel 0865-735422. Fax: 0865-736374.[18]
  • Catching the ear of the European Community, TOPIC seminar organised by European Centre for Public Affairs, Templeton College, Oxford. April 8 - 11 1991 . Venue - Oxford. Details from Adrienne Pratt, ECPA. Tel: 0865 735 422. Fax: 0865 736 374.[19]
  • New Directions after the Uruguay Round. Seminar organised by the European Centre for Public Affairs at Wiston House, West Sussex, 20 - 22 February 1991. Details from Adrienne Pratt, Administrator ECPA, Templeton College, Oxford OX1 5NY. Tel 0865 735 422. Fax 0865 736 374.[20]
  • "Influencing Decisions in Europe" Seminar organised by the European Centre for Public Affairs on 12-14 September. All enquiries to The Administrator (ECPA), Templeton College, Oxford OX1 5NY. Tel: 0865 735422. Fax: 0865 736374.[21]
  • "Why don't Governments do what business wants them to?" A two-day seminar, 27-29 June 1990, at Wiston House, Steyning, West Sussex, organised by the European Centre for Public Affairs. Speakers include Commission Vice-President Sir Leon Brittan. Details from Adrienne Pratt, ECPA, Templeton College, Oxford OX1 5NY. Tel: 0865-735422. Fax: 0865-736374.[22]


  4. ^ 'Charlie's main aim: Black Dog' Mail on Sunday 15 August 1999
  5. ^ Maggie Urry, Financial Times, July 9, 1988, Saturday, UK News; Pg. 5
  6. ^ PR Week 'PR Europe: Brussels - ECPA to woo post-graduates', March 29, 1996.
  7. ^Francine Cunningham 'European lobbyists are forced to conform', The Scotsman, May 29, 1997, Thursday, Pg. 28.
  8. ^Fran Abrams Westminster Correspondent THE VOTE FOR EUROPE: MEPS WIN BONUSES IN PERKS 'CUTBACK', The Independent (London), June 2, 1999, Wednesday, NEWS; Pg. 8
  9. ^ ECPA, Corporate membership, accessed February 2007
  10. ^PR Week 'How to lobby the EU' September 23, 1994
  11. ^European Report, 'EUROPEAN CONFERENCES' February 16, 2005, No. 2937
  12. ^Richard Cann 'ECPA TO EDUCATE ON CHANGES TO EU' PR Week, April 23, 2004, Pg. 10.
  13. ^European Report 'EU/CANADA: SEMINAR TO TRAIN DIPLOMATS IN EUROPEAN MATTERS' November 13, 2002, No. 2727.
  14. ^ Phil Harris 'Don's Diary' The Times Higher Education Supplement, October 26, 2001, No.1510; Pg.13
  15. ^M2 PRESSWIRE, 'THE WEEK IN EUROPE WE 120195' January 31, 1994
  16. ^PR Week 'PR Week crisis management event', June 24, 1993.
  17. ^PR Newswire 'GLOBAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS INSTITUTE APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR' DATELINE: NEW YORK, June 17, June 17, 1992, Wednesday - 10:22 Eastern Time
  19. ^ PR Newswire Europe 'THE WEEK IN EUROPE: UK TO BE "AT THE VERY HEART OF EUROPE" - MAJOR' March 14, 1991
  20. ^PR Newswire Europe 'THE WEEK IN EUROPE: EC EXPERTS WILL RETURN TO MOSCOW', July 26, 1990