It always seems that, as Christmas break draws nearer, all conference organisers decide to set up event after event, just to make sure we end the year spending more time in the lobbies of Brussels hotels than at our office desk (or any other useful place, for that matter)…Could it be that it is to remind us why we are called “lobbyists”? If that’s the case, could we please rename the profession to “beddists” (not buddhists) so that we can spend the cold winter months in bed?
ECTA Conference on the wonders of regulation and competition in the telecoms sector, Data Protection conference on why it is important for Europe and its Member States to protect our privacy, Data Retention conference on why it is important for Europe and its Member States to make private companies store lots of stuff in case they feel like breaching our privacy, Ecommerce Conference to explain the wonders an online single market could bring to our economy if only there was one (well, a functioning one)…all of that bundled in one week.
And you know the sad part: at none of these events did I hear (when I attended with my brain on) or read (when someone was kind enough to spare me the need to participate by sending me notes) anything new…nothing…zippo…nada. Europe talks about innovation ad nauseam but why can’t it’s policy makers try to be innovative? OK, that may be asking a bit much so let’s be slightly less ambitious: how come on issues like telecoms, ecommerce, data privacy and data retention we find ourselves listening to the “solutions & views” of 5 different DG’s? Wouldn’t you expect policy-making on a rather “big thing” like the online ecosystem (buzzword alert but needed to place it somewhere after hearing it a zillion times) to be slightly more…centralised? well-thought? coherent? Oh, and while we’re at it: I am not sure that rules should be different online and offline. I actually am pretty sure of the contrary except for one major aspect: applicable law. But that is something I leave for my musings on Lobbynomics, as this blog must remain my place to rant!