November 20, 2014
The EU is a complex game in which Brussels has a key role in close connection with the 28 capitals of the EU Member States. In previous messages I identified the 100.000 EU actors in Brussels, and now the “local EU actors”, those working in the Member States, will be mapped out.
On the executive level there is a unit in each ministry involved in the country’s position towards the relevant policies, and thus in charge of national views, in EU legislation. These units exist of about 10-20 people. These experts are in permanent contact with the Permanent Representation of the country to the EU, being involved especially in the Working Groups at the Council. Of course, some ministries have more people working on EU legislation issues, namely the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and EU Affairs. On top of this, there are also a number of national institutions or agencies who employ people who spend at least 50% of their time working with EU affairs.
On the legislative level hundreds of people contribute to the connection of their country to the European agenda, especially with the Treaty of Lisbon. Now the National Parliaments have the prerogative to spend more resources on the EU legislative process, and each Member of National Parliament, each political group, and each political committee have their experts in EU policies.
Of course there are more institutions and people who play a role in this EU affairs mosaic. I don’t believe I exaggerate when I say there are around 15.000 people in the national public institutions, in each of the 28 Member States, which can be considered “local actors in EU Affairs”, even though they are part-time in the majority of cases.
To all of this we can add other sectors that are dynamic in relation to the capital of Europe: many companies, via their department of regulatory affairs, are active in legislative lobbying (direct or indirect) and know the EU arena in detail. Industry federations, chambers of commerce, NGOs, employer associations, unions, consultancy firms, and law firms are active also in EU affairs.
There are hundreds of journalists in each country that are writing about dynamics of the EU system, even though they may not be aware of it 100% of the time. They write about politics, finance, education, and all kinds of other topics that have an EU dimension. There are also hundreds of teachers, university lecturers and professors who teach their students of the world of co-decision and the construction of the EU Institutions.
Without exaggerating I say that in the “private sector” there are another 10.000 people who are making a living (partially) by working in EU Affairs.
Thus, looking at the public and private sector in each country there is a total of 25.000 working in connection to the EU. It is normal that in each country the number of people involved in EU Affairs will vary depending on population, how long the country already is an EU Member State, government structure, the culture of the country and the level of leadership in the EU.
Basically an average of 25.000 people works in EU affairs in each EU country.