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DG Competition, the Holy Grail of Brussels Lobbyists

September 5, 2017

Yves Botteman was quoted by the French-language newspaper Contexte in an article titled “DG Competition, the Holy Grail of Brussels Lobbyists.” The September 5 article discusses the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Competition, in light of its recent clampdown on large companies concerning tax arrears and other anti-competitive behaviors. The article describes how influencing these cases can be difficult, as the Commission limits its exchanges with company lawyers and lobbyists. However, one advantage is that the lawyers have access to the files; “they are protected by professional secrecy and benefit from the confidentiality of the correspondence with their client, which is very useful” explains Mr. Botteman. He goes on to mention that “while if a company discloses to other third parties the ins and outs of a case, the elements could be seized during investigations.” The article observes how law firms have become essential in Brussels, yet their room to maneuver is limited with only a couple of opportunities a year to meet with the Commission.  Lawyers are able to go through the usual political process to meet Commissioners, but as recognized by Mr. Botteman “this is not necessarily going to radically change the direction of the dossiers. At best, it is a chance to resolve a point of conflict and move forward.”

The full article can be read at the French-language newspaper Contexte (subscription required).