ATHENORA CONSULTING, YOUR STRATEGY AND INFLUENCE CONSULTANTs TO THE EU INSTITUTIONS
Athenora joined the Public Relation Global Network in 2007.
Worldwide, the PRGN has more than 40 branches working together on cross-border issues.
Athenora has the support of its European branches when monitoring its clients’ actions nationally.
Videos (in French)
Lobbying sits at the crossroads of individual interests and general interest.
It is part and parcel of the democratic process and must be clearly defined in order to fulfil its purpose of defending individual interests vis-à-vis the public authorities (see the article about Government-appointed lobbyists).
As a European Public Affairs consultancy, Athenora abides by the codes of conduct of the European Commission and Parliament transparency register and the SEAP (Society of European Public affairs professionals).
We believe lobbying should be professional and transparent and were the first lobbying firm to sign up to the European transparency register as soon as it was launched.
Athenora selects the causes it wishes to promote and makes a conscientious decision not to work with certain sectors (tobacco, strong alcohol, high-fat and high-sugar foods and drinks, weapons) and countries (listed as not free or partly free by the Freedom House Foundation).
Athenora works for a number of freely-selected pro-bono causes.
Our customers and references
Founder and Presidentstephane.desselas at athenora.com
+ 32 2 280 28 01
- Qualified lawyer, graduate of ESCP (93), degree in Accounting & Financial Studies (DECF)
- 25 years of experience in European Affairs
- President of the
- Senior lecturer at the Catholic University of Paris (ICP)
- Lecturer on the Postgraduate Course in European Studies at the National School of Administration (ENA)
- Past Senior lecturer at Sciences-Po Paris
- French Foreign Trade Consultant (CCEF)
- Certified coach
- Strategy and company development
General Director and Partnernatacha.clarac at athenora.com
+ 32 2 280 39 94
- Graduate of the Institute for Political Studies (IEP) in Aix en Provence and the Institute of European Studies
- 15+ years of experience in European affairs
- President of the
- President of the
- President of the
- Senior lecturer at Sciences-Po Paris
- Lecturer at the Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defence (IHEDN)
- Consultancy and influence strategies
Consultantaudrey.martin at athenora.com
+ 32 2 280 28 01
- Graduate in European Law from the University of Lyon and the King’s College.
- Three years’ experience in European affairs (Climate NGO, European Law firm and Lobbying firm)
- Secretary General of the Europe & Future Technologies Forum
Consultantjonathan.veru at athenora.com
+ 32 2 280 68 98
- Degree in political sciences and a Master’s in law
- Four years’ experience in European affairs
- Representative of the “Cercle de l'industrie” industry forum in Brussels
- Policy advisor, Eurodom
Consultantbenjamin.malliart at athenora.com
+ 32 2 280 39 96
- Graduate of the Institute of European Studies and of the College of Europe, Masters in European Studies
- Three years’ experience in European Affairs
- Parliamentary assistant at the European Parliament
Office Manageraxelle.arbonnier at athenora.com
+ 32 2 280 28 01
- Master in Public Law
- Master in International and Community Law, University of Lille
We would like to thank all our clients and partners for their kind and valuable feedback
The teams at Athenora have given us a greater understanding of why and how Europe affects us: the political issues, the impact of regulations on our business and the opportunities to support our projects. They help us to publicise and promote mutual organisations and to advance the interests and expectations of our millions of members who are also European citizens. They also help us to anticipate European decisions, rather than simply submit to them. In a complex European environment, the teams at Athenora know how to listen to and educate us in order to best support our discussions and developments.
The team at the Permanent Representation Office of La Poste must be able to discuss, share and compare technical dossiers and ideas on a daily and ongoing basis, in order to support our influencing strategy in Brussels. The teams at Athenora are always happy to listen and are very responsive. They have a perfect knowledge of institutional mechanisms, networks and people, as well as the human qualities required to build a lasting and trusting relationship.
Our work with Athenora involves the regulatory monitoring of our European markets. We initially worked with them on a specific issue, but have since extended our collaboration to a number of areas of intelligence and action thanks to Athenora's ability to teach and advise our operational teams. Particularly valuable are the reporting tools they have introduced, as these allow us to prioritise challenges and opportunities according to the capacity for action of our different subsidiaries.
The Civil Law Initiative is supported by Athenora Consulting. Our discussions with its teams have been extremely valuable for setting out a strategy for promoting our work to the European institutions. They tailored their excellent knowledge of the Brussels system to meet our exact needs, allowing us to present our ideas to the relevant spokespersons without delay and in an effective and appropriate manner.
Athenora represents and defends the interests of its clients extremely well, helping them to debate with European decision-makers. Athenora has gained an excellent reputation thanks to its perfect knowledge of the European labyrinth and its rigorous, ethical working practices. As a European Relations tutor with many contacts in Brussels, I have seen how Athenora’s reputation for professionalism and credibility has made it a recognised partner of the European institutions. Athenora offers well-trained young people the opportunity to begin and pursue a career as an international lobbyist.
The Cercle des réseaux européens, founded and led by Athenora, regularly gives its members the opportunity to meet European decision-makers in a different environment to the usual working meetings. Although this is not an opportunity for businesses to lobby, the fact that these meetings are quite small allows in-depth discussions with top-level European decision-makers. The courteous tone of the debates does not prevent them from being open and honest. These meetings are an opportunity for representatives of French companies to extend and strengthen their Brussels networks and to get to know each other better.
I was slightly doubtful when Stéphane Desselas asked me to be a tutor in the first "lobby training" session, however, it proved to be extremely rewarding. These discussions make it possible to understand and anticipate the expectations of the interested parties and thus to learn how to develop real trust-based relationships with European decision-makers. Athenora offers a vision of lobbying with a human face, which is a far cry from the cynical utilitarianism of certain consultancy firms.
The Education League has called upon Athenora to engage its militants in the European cause on several occasions. Without making any kind of moral judgment, the team at Athenora provided our militants with practical tools to make themselves heard in Brussels and influence European debates. The team at Athenora gave our cause the means to act effectively and rationally at European level. Athenora is one of the few consultancy firms in Brussels to offer NGOs societal lobbying tools for furthering their cause.
It is difficult for an NGO such as ATD Fourth World to follow European affairs on a daily basis, as we lack substantial human resources. We are very grateful to Athenora for helping us free of charge by sending us weekly intelligence information on European dossiers that affect us. To help us even further, Athenora regularly discusses the issues with us in order to fine-tune this intelligence information. This has allowed us to remain informed and aware of issues and decisions that we would not otherwise have picked up on due to a lack of time or skills and to keep a careful eye on these issues. We are also grateful for Athenora's advice on communications and strategy which has helped us defend in Brussels the rights of the weakest members of society.
We are increasingly required to consider the European dimension when managing our clients' issues. Whether this involves managing public opinion before, during or after the decision-making process, our cooperation with Athenora is always easy and effective thanks to the professionalism and attitude of Stéphane Desselas and Natacha Clarac; this cooperation takes place in the context of the PRGN, in which we are the French member.
Athenora Consulting is our preferred partner for European lobbying issues within PRGN. Stéphane Desselas presented the specifics of lobbying in Brussels during a training course on public affairs that we gave for our Swiss clients. We are grateful for his knowledgeable advice, which was based on first-hand information.
I had the pleasure of working with the team Athenora during a joint Cap Gemini mission for a large mutual insurance company. It was a particularly rewarding professional experience, with stimulating discussions, a consistently high level of expertise and a great desire to achieve results for their clients… in a pleasant and relaxed environment.
I have found the two books written by Stéphane Desselas on lobbying particularly useful in my teaching. They combine excellent lessons and a very clear presentation of the basic principles of lobbying with an operational vision that reveals many years of experience. I also noticed a rare quality in Stéphane Desselas, namely the discretion of an author who does not use his books to promote his agency. I believe that humility is an essential quality in a good lobbyist.
We worked with Athenora on a regulatory watch in the European transport industry. Because of their excellent knowledge of the Brussels system and how the institutions work, we were able to put forward our ideas effectively and to the right people. Our discussions with Athenora were invaluable. They enabled us to find the right strategy to promote the value of our work to the European institutions and meet the European decision-makers. We are very grateful to Athenora for sending us a round-up of EU matters each week.
- Decoding the implications of the EU matters which affect our clients, enabling them to plan for changes in legislation
- Mapping of the relationships of power to identify allies and adversaries
- Information about EU procedures and schedules so they know the key times to take action
- Information about networks, appointments and movements in the corridors of power
- Themed talks to explain the impacts of legislative initiatives
- Defining a lobbying strategy for the political arena (interests to defend, relationships of power, political acceptability of demands)
- Putting in place an action plan and schedule
- Defining the objectives and negotiating positions
- Drafting responses to consultations, arguments, positions and amendments, in line with the European codes
- Creating visual documents (infographics, videos, etc.)
- Creating formal and informal coalitions
- Taking direct lobbying action (meeting the decision makers, talks, involvement in expert panels, official statements, etc.)
- Taking indirect lobbying action (think tanks, studies, federations, stakeholders, etc.)
- Communicating with the media and social media
- Lobby training to teach our clients how to defend a position before a European decision-maker
Senior lecturers on lobbying at Sciences Po, our partners explain to groups and individuals what EU lobbying involves.
Athenora runs training sessions at the following schools and institutions:
The European Networks Forum brings together energy, transport, water, telecoms and postal companies and professional federations to discuss common issues.
The aim is to pool the problems, talk with European decision-makers and provide information on the current EU situation common to all the networks.
The Europe and Social Economic Forum brings together organisations (mutual insurance companies, cooperatives, associations/foundations, social protection groups) who wish to discuss the implications of Brussels’ handling of social economic issues.
The aim is to pool their problems, talk with European decision-makers and provide information on the current EU regulations which affect all companies in the social and solidarity economy.
The forum tackles eu issues related to new technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and the internet of things, with a view to fostering global debate.
The Forum addresses European issues impacting the regulated professions, the use of data, major legal issues and developments in e-government with the aim of bringing together views on major societal issues.
The New Lobbyists Group provides its members - all advocates of modern, ethical and professional European lobbying - with a forum for networking and exchange.
Its aim is to share best practices and develop lobbying procedures which are professional and transparent.
Our coaching services help lobbyists to improve their performance ethically and provide a sustainable contribution to european institutions