Brussels is a town full of diplomats, civil servants, lobbyists….and a few politicians. We know that most diplomats are very discreet and that politicians are, well, noisy. But what about trade associations?

In my experience most associations here dilute their work because of a reluctance to speak ‘loud and clear’ on the issues of the day. My plan for the CCIA here in Brussels is for us to become a prominent, often noisy, voice on the debates that matter to our members.

The CCIA’s history of standing, sometimes noisily, for openness is why I am delighted to have been appointed to run the Brussels office. After more than 10 years lobbying for corporations on issues ranging from telecom liberalisation to IPR, trade and the internet this presents a new challenge for me and one that I am relishing.

Over the coming weeks we will be engaging with members who have an interest in European policy to see what, and where, you would like us to focus. I am keen that we don’t merely duplicate the work that other associations are doing; one more voice amongst 20 won’t add much value. So, what are the issues that you really care about, that nobody else is working on, or that are being covered too discreetly elsewhere? Where can the CCIA’s principles of openness really make a difference? Are there debates in other European countries that interest you and where you would like to see CCIA active? We’d like to hear your views.

We are mid-point through the current mandates of the European Parliament and Commission and there are important consultations and legislative debates underway. For the CCIA these might include net neutrality, the European position on WCIT, the data protection regulation and initiatives to reform aspects of copyright. But don’t just take my word for it; tell us what you think.

The CCIA’s forty year history provides a fantastic springboard to cementing its position as the only global technology trade association, making a difference on the issues that count. I am looking forward to contributing to this next phase by ensuring that we are heard on this side of the Atlantic as clearly as we are in the United States. Please contact me at jwaterworth@ccianet.org and follow us on Twitter @CCIAEurope.

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