Letzpact officially launched at the Mudam with Jean-Paul Olinger, director of the UEL and INDR, as guest of honour. “We want to demystify the lobbyist profession, which is sometimes disparaged, to put best practices in place and to professionalise the profession,” said Laurence Ponchaut, president of Letzpact.
The new nonprofit aims to organise, promote, represent and support public affairs professionals in Luxembourg.
Letzpact does not yet have a membership target, but it will soon take a position on certain issues including transparency, of which Ponchaut is very much in favour. “We have three pillars: transparency, integrity and respect. The creation of a transparency register is a step in the right direction,” she said.
Ponchaut also remains open to lobbyists working from Belgium. “Letzpact aspires to become a trusted contact for all questions and reflections on the profession, but also to make Luxembourg’s economic attractiveness known to international companies considering developing their activities here,” she said.
Moreover, before the end of the year, Letzpact will organise a roundtable on the challenges of implementing a transparency register within the Chamber of Deputies, as well as a conference dedicated to lobbyists, especially novices, in order to confront them with Luxembourg’s economic and political landscape.
Number of lobbyists in Luxembourg unknown
In Europe, similar structures exist, notably in Belgium due to the presence of numerous European and international institutions. Letzpact has received the support of Bepact, its Belgian counterpart. It also hopes to join the PACE (Public Affairs Community of Europe) network, which aims to be the voice of the public affairs community Europe.
For the moment, there is no figure on the number of lobbyists in Luxembourg. But in Brussels, Transparency International estimates that there are about 26,500 lobbyists permanently present. Other sources put the number at 50,000.
Letzpact's board of directors includes Gerry Wagner (House of Automobiles), Frédérique Dell (Political Intelligence, in Brussels), Mark De Zutter (Bepact, in Belgium), Sonia Franck (secretary general of the Luxembourg Pharmaceutical Association), Mathilde Brasseur (Letzpact’s secretary general and corporate affairs manager for Japan Tobacco International) and Laurence Ponchaut (Distinct Communication).
This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.