Mette Grolleman runs the biggest lobbying office in Brussels — FleishmanHillard — and isn’t tempted to return to the Berlaymont to work for her old boss Margrethe Vestager: “When you leave, you have to leave,” she told EU Confidential.
Grolleman’s new goal is to bring nuance to how outsiders understand the EU. The different sides of the Brussels bubble need each other to deliver a functioning whole, she said: “We are an ecosystem ... I valued [lobbyist input] when I was on the inside.”
FleishmanHillard has good reason to explain its values to the world in 2019: it has been mired in a controversy over its campaign aimed at winning the reapproval of glyphosate, on behalf of Monsanto, now owned by Bayer.
Grolleman demurred when asked whether the company got its tactics right: “I can't speak so much to a specific case a because all clients need and deserve respect and privacy around what we do with them. But what I can say in more general terms is that when you are exposed to criticism … you need to take a step back and look at yourself and ask yourself whether you have acted ethically,” she said.
Grolleman predicts that the new, fractured European Parliament will be good for the lobbying business. “It's much more difficult for companies to go in and advocate their case now” because standing coalitions won’t work, and more Euroskeptics are expected to stop “wasting” their votes and get involved in legislating.
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