Dutch lobby consultancy Public Matters opens Brussels office

14 June 2019 Consultancy.eu 4 min. read

Public Matters has opened an office in Brussels, the firm’s first outside of home country the Netherlands. In Europe’s political capital, the consultancy will support its clients with public affairs and lobbying at a European geo-political level. 

The consulting firm based in The Hague, the Netherlands’ political capital, has been active internationally since its inception in 2001, with a large share of its lobby activities taking place in Brussels. To meet growing demand for its services – Public Matters has expanded to a team of around 25 consultants – the firm has now established an office in Belgium’s capital. “This positions us at the heart of the European Union and the centre of European political decision-making,” said Bas Batelaan, managing partner at the consultancy. 

Public Matters helps its clients with topics such as public affairs & lobbying, stakeholder & association management, strategic communications and monitoring intelligence. “We advise our clients on how to position themselves optimally in the political, public and public-private arena,” explained Batelaan.

In Brussels, the firm will focus on helping Dutch government organsitions and private sector institutions with influencing European policy. With the European elections just behind us, Europe’s political playing field has been shaken up considerably. For many organisations, it is strategically important to exert as much influence as possible on decision-making in the coming years, as each party/group tries to best position its own interests. To this end, Public Matters will on behalf of clients work with several European institutions, including the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council, but also European trade associations and non-profits.Dutch lobby consultancy Public Matters opens Brussels officeBatelaan expects that in the coming period there will be increasing demand for so-called EU affairs advisory – a combination of public affairs and lobby work at a European decision-making level. To support clients in this field, a number of experienced consultants from Public Matters’ Dutch office have been assigned to support the new Belgian hub. 

Meanwhile, Gijs de Haan has also been recruited to support the Brussels office. Although still relatively fresh (he previously worked as a junior consultant at Jonge Honden), De Haan brings with him experience gained in Brussels. He also previously worked as an intern at the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the European Union (a body that promotes the Dutch interests in the European Union) and completed an internship at the Dutch Banking Association (NVB), where he dealt with policy issues involving the interaction between politics, governments and businesses.

From the office in the heart of Brussels, the Dutch advisory firm will support clients with shaping strategies and implementing them. Propositions include: interpreting relevant European policy developments; developing strategies aimed at influencing (new) European policy; positioning organisations towards policymakers and other players in the European scene; the formulation of key messages for the European policy and legislative process; the realisation of coalitions between stakeholders with overlapping interests; and facilitating dialogues with European stakeholders.

According to data from LobbyFacts, FTI Consulting, Fleishman-Hillard and Burson Cohn & Wolfe (formerly Burson-Marsteller) are the largest lobby consultancies in Brussels. Combined they have over 80 experts dedicated to European lobby work. Clients of the three consulting firms are not disclosed. 

Earlier this year The Brattle Group, an American economics and competition consultancy, also opened an office in Brussels, the firm’s fourth in Europe.