eu consultation: only english-reading stakeholders need respond October 16, 2012Posted by Bradley in : consultation , trackback
I have been thinking about stakeholder definition in consultations in the EU recently. I have been particularly interested in the ways that different groups within the Commission define the stakeholders they are concerned with in different ways. Thus consultations that seem to be technical consultations sometimes invite consumer responses whereas other similarly technical consultations do not. And sometimes there’s a stakeholder definition which says anyone can respond but we are really interested in contributions from the following people and entities (i.e. the ones whose responses we will really focus on). The public consultation on the revision of the Recommendation on relevant markets (2007/879/EC) (deadline for responses Jan. 8, 2013) defines the “target group” as follows:
The consultation is open to all citizens and organisations concerned with the market-based approach to regulation within the electronic communications sector in the EU.
Contributions are particularly sought from public authorities (including National Regulatory Authorities and National Competition Authorities), the Body of European Regulators in Electronic Communications (BEREC), Member States, the electronic communications industry, research institutions and universities, consumer advocacy groups and other interested parties.
The tacking on of the “other interested parties” seems to modify the exclusiveness of the description of the people from whom contributions are particularly sought. But does it really, or are these words designed to counter the sort of critique I made before the quote. In some ways this doesn’t matter very much as the people who want to comment on the issues will do so whether they feel they are in the defined target group or not. But perhaps the target group definiition has an impact on press coverage of consultations?
Anyway, the questionnaire is only being published in English. Given that the EU is supposed to be committed to multilingualism I don’t understand this, although this sort of thing happens more often than we might like to think. And it’s one way of limiting responses to those who may have technical expertise.