Since we are still at the beginning of the year, we try to identify the best ways to interact in the fascinating world of European affairs in Brussels. Current issues are, of course, the pandemic crisis and the crisis in Ukraine, but we also have worrying signals of an economic crisis.
Turning to the more specialized part, taxonomy is the order of the day in Brussels, and the French Presidency combined with the election for the Elysée dominates the public agenda.
At Brussels’ level, an ordinary city with 100 conferences a day before the pandemic, we have "underground activity". The contemporary underground is the online environment in which we have taken massive refugee for two years. This does not mean that there is no physical interaction, from time to time we come to the surface. The European institutions are open, the lobby offices of the corporate sector are running at full speed because the legislative dynamic continues.
We have few public events, the most popular being the small format dinners, the lunches in the Schuman area or the coffees at Place Luxembourg. I do not see a major change in this approach, even if we gradually move towards an endemic. Virtual Conferences will dominate the market in 2022, and the forms of hybrid events are visible, but not as strong as some have anticipated.
It is important that the debate continues, and the most effective way is to anchor it to the public agenda and find the most pragmatic channels to convey the opinion. Even a position paper on nuclear energy, if it brings an element of macro contextualization helps the impact. A reference to the file of European autonomy, energy prices and even industrial champions is welcome.
We live in complex times, in which simplifying communication methods is fundamental. Two- or three-page papers take the place of bushy studies. The list of dozens of contacts can be reduced to a few precise and focused interactions.
Monitoring is important, but the pandemic has brought something new and good in institutional communication. There is a fantastic openness in responding quickly to emails and participating in virtual events organized by the private and non-governmental sector.
European capitals are closer now than ever before, but activity in Brussels is also more visible in European countries. The digital culture has opened the gates of Fortress Brussels. I felt that too, from a practical point of view. For two years, without going to Bucharest, I participated in five Romanian conferences and I had 10 live interventions on national television.
I keep meeting people who say it was better before the pandemic. I don't want to call them nostalgic, but this is the current situation and we need to continue our activity and life. Adapt, adapt and adapt again…
And if the new normal helps us to be wiser, we will certainly organize European society better for the benefit of our responsible and constructive citizens.
Dan LUCA / Brussels
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