The Value of Lobbying

The Value of Lobbying

By Vincent Guerre, Trainee, Institutional Affairs, SEMI Europe

Lobbying— influencing decisions made by public authorities— is common practice in the European Union (EU). Many business stakeholders, including SEMI Europe, now have an office in Brussels, where they nurture permanent contacts with EU policymakers: the European Commission, Permanent Representation offices of various national States, and other industry associations.

SEMI members should not neglect the importance of lobbying. The industry is impacted by EU legislations, with nearly 75% of laws implemented in EU member States decided by the EU. The EU deals with directly relevant issues, such as:

  • International trade
  • Competition policy and State aids regulation
  • Research and innovation
  • Environment

The EU is a key actor in industrial policy. Not only do EU policymakers develop business regulations at the European level, but they also strongly coordinate member States’ business regulations.

If we want to prepare for the future and develop lead markets in Europe, promoting our interests towards the EU now is a necessity. During the current crisis period, being aware of how the EU can help the semiconductor industry is also a burning issue. It is possible for large projects to get funding from the European Investment Bank and many SEMI members could benefit of R&D-funded projects under the FP7 programme.

Industries establish permanent contacts with the EU in order to raise the priority of their industry among political decision makers. If we don’t develop lobbying strategies, we are basically saying that the industry doesn’t need to be a political priority. The EU should be aware that governments in other regions strongly support the semiconductor industry by providing significant incentives, R&D funding, workforce development programmes and a favourable regulatory environment.

Who Are the EU Policymakers?

The critical player in the EU is the European Commission (EC). This institution is in charge of creating legislative proposals. These proposals are often technical and require expertise. Since the EC often cannot develop this expertise by itself, it typically asks for stakeholder opinion. Most industries are thus fully involved in the creation of legislation by answering public consultations from the EC. For example, SEMI has closely worked with the EC in the fields of the REACH chemical regulation and of ICT and energy efficiency. In addition, last year, SEMI promoted a White Paper presenting the semiconductor industry’s expectations to the EU and member States.

SEMI is regularly in contact with these stakeholders. Our annual SEMI Brussels Forum is a good opportunity to meet key policymakers. Last year, 100 participants from 16 countries represented the industry, the EC, the European Parliament, related associations, national governments, R&D laboratories, and universities.

SEMI also took the initiative to raise EU stakeholder’s awareness about semiconductors by organizing a visit to IMEC. Forty-seven participants representing the EC, representatives from related associations, and from national governments joined the visit. Malcolm Penn provided a seminar hosted by the EC, on the semiconductor industry financial characteristics.

SEMI represents member interests throughout the year, working with policymakers and interest groups who shape the business environment. The SEMI European Advisory Board regularly meets policymakers in the EC and the European Parliament. SEMI is developing lobbying activities at the different steps of the legislative procedure. We frequently meet policymakers in the EC, the Council and the European Parliament

To be strong, we need member involvement, so we urge you to join us in support of our Industry Advocacy endeavours. SEMI by itself will be less effective in developing effective lobbying actions. Members should understand how important it is to develop network connections in these issues.

Your Support is Needed— Get involved!

We strongly encourage you to:

  • Get involved in European affairs. Appoint a person in charge of these issues who would be in contact with SEMI.
  • Provide SEMI with technical expertise. Help SEMI present the most accurate information and arguments to EU policymakers.

    SEMI meets with European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding.

    SEMI arranges visit for the European Commission to IMEC.

    SEMI presents White Paper recommendation to European Commission and Members of the European Parliament.

    For more information on how to get involved with SEMI and advocacy, please contact Carlos Lee at SEMI: clee@semi.org.

    July 8, 2009