Press freedom hangs over EU summit – APCO’s European plans – EU lobbying meets EU “journalism” – POLITICO

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Good Friday afternoon and welcome back to EU Influence.


MEDIA FAILURES: With EU leaders in Slovenia for a Western Balkans summit earlier this week, media advocates saw an opportunity to pressure them to protect press freedom – both inside and out. outside the EU.

Eyes on the candidate countries: Ahead of the summit, rights organization Reporters Without Borders insisted that more attention be paid to the journalistic landscape in countries wishing to become members of the EU, including the Balkan countries.

Stimulate media freedom: “Support for investigative and professional journalism in the Balkans is an essential remedy to help the region tackle two of its main problems: corruption and the COVID-19 pandemic” Pavol Szalai, said the head of RSF’s EU / Balkans office in a statement ahead of the summit. “The EU should undoubtedly be more ambitious in its use of its appeal to the Western Balkans to enable citizens of the region to have access to more reliable news and information.

** A message from the BMS-Pfizer Alliance: Join us for a high-level discussion on October 14 on the impact of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and cardiovascular disease-related strokes (CVD) on the European economy and society, and discuss how we can implement effective public policy action plans in a post-pandemic world.**

Slovenian journalists speak out: Some summit participants were concerned about the state of democracy closer to home. “The country which chairs the Council of the European Union fundamentally does not respect the principle of the rule of law”, declared Mihael Suštaršič, reporter for the Slovenian News Agency (STA), referring to the government of his home country, which hosted the summit as part of its rotating EU presidency.

Summit solidarity action: Several local journalists showed up at the summit’s closing press conference with EU leaders wearing shirts in solidarity with the STA, which critics say is on the verge of financial collapse due to pressure from the Prime Minister’s government. Janez Janša. Slovenian leaders have rejected accusations that they violate press freedom.


NEW APCO CHIEF: EU influence has caught up Paul Compostela, who recently took over the presidency of the Europe region of global communications company APCO. Compostella has a globetrotting experience, with periods of work in places like Brussels, London, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Reconnect to Europe: The new president has moved to his current position after having served as Managing Director of the APCO offices in Italy. Setting up the company’s Italian operations is “probably the most important thing I have done because I started from scratch,” he said. “Now we are probably the market leader with 60 people, two offices in Milan and Rome. But coming to Brussels, he added, will allow him to “reconnect with the European agenda”.

New objectives: In her new role, Compostella wants to promote the “integrated campaign model – therefore the idea of ​​tackling certain issues not in silos”.

In competition for talents: “We are a popular business,” said Compostella. “So my efforts will also be about keeping our great talents” and finding new ways “to support our growth,” he said. Attracting talent, however, is a challenge, according to Compostella. “There is a lot of pressure,” he says. “The market is extremely competitive right now, not least because we are seeing large companies investing heavily in our space. “


OPAQUE BUBBLE: Despite long-standing pressure on transparency, large swathes of the Brussels bubble remain opaque, writes my colleague Mark Scott in part three of his series on undercover EU lobbying. The article examines how an EU-accredited journalist can blur the lines between independent journalism and marketing for a political consultancy in the European Parliament.

LATEST REVOLVING DOORS: Long-time civil servant Nicolas Banasevic, who led the European Commission’s antitrust investigations against Google, will join the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, report my colleagues Simon Van Dorpe and Pietro Lombardi.

A trend: Banasevic is far from the first big name to leave the ship this year, write Simon and Pietro. His decision follows the departure of two other top officials from the competition, Cecilio Madero Villarejo and Carles Esteva Mosso, who are experienced in battling the giants of Silicon Valley. Both join law firms that act for the same companies.

Career path: Banasevic, a British national, has worked at DG Competition for over 20 years. Since 2012, he has led the unit behind three Google investigations that have hit the search giant with more than 8 billion euros in fines. On November 10, the EU General Court will rule on Google’s challenge to the first of these cases, which saw the company fined 2.42 billion euros for its shopping comparison service.

The Commission’s point of view: The departure of a third senior Commission competition official in less than a year has raised concerns about revolving doors. A Commission spokesperson said Banasevic had “authorization” for the move “with the appropriate restrictions imposed”. The aim of the procedure “is to prevent any risk of real, potential or perceived conflict with the legitimate interest of the Commission”, added the spokesperson.

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EU lawmakers have confirmed German financial regulator Verena ross as chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority, marking the end of a long political battle for the post.

At Covington & Burling, Katherine kingsbury was promoted to special adviser. Melissa Van Schoorisse was promoted to the rank of lawyer.

At Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, George kapantaidakis and Camille Martelli were promoted to Director of Public Affairs and Maria Linkova-Nijs to the communications director.

Former Slovak Foreign Minister and current EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák joined the School of Transnational Governance of the European University Institute as an Assistant Professor.

Anne-Claude Martin was promoted to senior account manager at Cambre, while Alice Antoine-Grégoire joined the agency’s media team. Javier Garrido left Alonso & Asociados to become an account manager focusing on Cambre’s sustainable development clients.

Mathijs peters is now Director of EU Corporate Affairs and International Organizations at PepsiCo.

Philippe Rio joined CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Equipment Manufacturers, as Head of Strategic Communications.

Arnaud Sonnet took the head of the Brussels office of Quorum. During this time, Siobhan pitcher joined Quorum as a Content Marketing Associate for the EU.

Simone Tagliapietra is now a member of the board of directors of the Clean Air Task Force.

Emma Woodford joins the European Policy Center as the new Director of Operations.

Anja Wyrobek joins the office of MEP Birgit Sippel as legal advisor on digital rights and data protection.

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