The relationship between the UK and the EU has been irreversibly changed, since the 2016 referendum. Although the politics of the decision dominates our television screens and newspapers, there is an operational consideration for those working in government.

Civil servants and those working in policy will need to have a deep understanding of how the EU works, post-Brexit, to maintain maximum efficiency and productivity in what promises to be a challenging time.

This course will equip all participants with the skills and knowledge required to maximise the inner workings of the EU and goes further to explain how to influence the EU once the UK leaves. It offers the critical knowledge and effective tools to run successful campaigns in Brussels, when UK central government will need to negotiate with their largest collective trading partner.

The objective is to equip staff with the skills and knowledge to work with and influence key decision-makers and plan campaigns in Brussels and EU Member States, particularly after EU exit.

Delegates will be asked to bring their own laptops.

About the Chair: Hector McGillivray
Hector McGillivray is a retired European Commission official living in Brussels. His professional experience relates to communications in the area of European affairs.

During his 35 years at the European Commission, he has worked in translation, editing and speechwriting. In particular, he was President Romano Prodi’s English speechwriter from 2002 to 2004. Before that, he spent six months in the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Rome in 1990 in the run-up to the Intergovernmental Conference that led to the Maastricht Treaty, four months in 1993 in the former Yugoslavia (Krajina and Bihac Pocket) as an ECMM monitor, six months editing legislation in the Commission Legal Service, and two years at the Commission Representation in London.

He completed his career at the Commission in the Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion DG, editing texts and drafting speeches, mainly for the Commissioners and Directors-General in charge.

Hector studied languages at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where he took his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He subsequently went to Paris to research his PhD thesis on André Malraux. He has worked as lecturer in the Universities of Paris XII and Poitiers and the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples.


09:15 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:00

Trainers' Welcome and Introduction

10:00 - 10:45

Understanding the Organisation of the European Union

  • The EU at a glance
  • Understand the five institutions of the EU and their role in creating and implementing policy
    • European Council
    • European Commission
    • Council of the European Union
    • European Parliament
    • Court of Justice
  • The EU’s role in the developing world
  • Explore the European External Action Service
  • The importance of good relationships in the EU
10:45 - 11:00

Morning Break

11:00 - 12:00

How to Effectively Work with the EU and Plan Your EU Advocacy Campaign

  • Situate your issue with the EU
  • Knowing what you want to change
  • Identifying who has the power to enact the changes you want
  • Conveying your message
  • Making sure that an effective approach to public affairs is an important part of your overall impact plan
12:00 - 13:00

Creating an ‘Impact Toolkit’ to Measure, Track and Evaluate your Impact Strategy

  • Develop pathways to impact
  • The importance of an impact strategy
  • Event organisation and its role in influencing policymakers
  • Measuring impact
  • Tips for knowledge exchange
  • Best practice social media guidance
13:00 - 14:00


14:00 - 15:00

Workshop 1: Influencing Policymakers

  • The importance of having succinct and clear messaging
  • Strike a balance between being academic but not too academic
  • How to emphasise what you can do for policymakers as well as asking what they can do for you
  • Use ‘bullet point briefings’
  • The importance of high-impact, succinct material
  • Creating opportunity for future contact
  • Make good use of the wide availability of free information
  • Track your public affairs contacts and to manage them effectively
  • Recognise how to foster positive relationships amongst all parties
15:00 - 16:00

Workshop 2: Interactive Scenario

Working in groups of five, delegates will work through specific case studies using different skills and techniques that were learnt earlier in the day.

  • This session includes the opportunity for delegates to discuss which techniques would work best in the given, influencing scenario
  • Work through real-life examples to help you become a better negotiator
  • Take part in role plays to use the knowledge learnt during the day to hone your influencing and negotiating skills
16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation & Close

Central London