February 6, 2015
Last week I hosted Kellen’s yearly EU Update event in Washington, D.C. Held in partnership with ASAE and Visit Brussels, speakers included Geoffrey Harris, Deputy Head of the European Parliament Liaison Office with the US Congress and Roberto Pena, Senior Trade Advisor to the European Union. For everyone not able to make it to DC, I wanted to share some of the key takeaways from the event:
Current Political Landscape:
- The European Parliament elections were held in May 2014. This is the first election in which the pan European political parties enter candidates in the race for president of the European Commission.
- During these elections the federalist groups lost votes to the far-left, eurosceptic, and nationalist parties. The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) is now the largest of the new European Parliament, at 29.43%.
- Jean-Claude Juncker, the lead candidate of the European People’s Party is the President of the European Commission. For his 5 year presidency, Juncker prepared a ten-point agenda focusing on jobs and growth.
- The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the ambitious trade deal planned between the US and the EU, is focused on reducing regulatory and other non-tariff barriers. EU governments gave the European Commission a mandate to negotiate TTIP in 2013 and the discussions are now in full flow.
Current Association Trends in Brussels:
- Governance Restructuring: There has been a shift from the pure European federation structure (only national associations as members) to a mixed model of direct company membership and national associations. This has given companies more power within associations.
- Demonstrating Added Value: Companies are increasingly assessing their memberships within various associations. Associations that cannot demonstrate their value to members and the industry are at risk. Some associations are seeing success with business plans, tracking their KPI performance against yearly, defined targets.
- Digital Communications: Associations understand the importance of exploring and adopting new communications channels in order to stay relevant. Kellen’s Social Media Status Report 2014 showed that associations in Europe are becoming increasingly aware of the role social media is playing within their organization and industry, with usage increasing since 2013. Social media is also playing a role in the hiring process of association executives in Europe, with digital marketing capabilities being highly sought after.
As you can see, the association landscape in Europe is changing. If you have questions or want to know more about what was covered at the event, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.