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Challenges and insights in a downturn economy and the role of ECPA for its members

The ECPA Inner Circle
Public Affairs challenges and insights in a downturn economy and the role of ECPA for its members


The financial downturn has led to an inevitable cut in budgets and a scaling back of activity in some areas, but we are experiencing a shift in the dynamic, rather than a downturn, in the Public Affairs arena. At EU level, certain sectors such as financial services, energy and climate change, accession and neighbourhood policy remain highly active. On the international stage, European governments are responding to the behaviour of growth markets in India, China and the Middle East. And
internally, corporations are increasingly looking to policy expertise to address business challenges. In this context, Public Affairs practitioners need more than ever to ensure that we deliver quantifiable value in achieving business goals, and remain focused on shaping the long term debate as well as responding to the issues of the day.

The “Fairness Agenda” and “Transparency Agenda” continue to dominate, and Public Affairs has an important role to play as an enabler for transparent dialogue and decision making. We also need to respond to the role of those who are emerging as new international gatekeepers such as the IMF and the World Bank. As a widening gap emerges between the global economy and the essentially localised nature of politics, so Public Affairs has a valuable role to play as an interlocutor in the
commercial and social dialogue.

The role of the ECPA moving forwards is:

  • to examine broad market and political trends, moving beyond the operational;
  • to ensure that our skillset remains relevant and share best practice across the widest range of commercial experience;
  • and to highlight issues which lie beyond our immediate spheres to ensure longer term thinking in uncertain times.