The chamber was pleased to welcome Gian Marco Currado, counsellor at the UK Permanent Representation, at this EU Committee lunch briefing,to reflect on the evolution of the Council through the years.
Having played a major role in the UK’s involvement in the Council of the European Union on environment,chemicals, health and social affairs policy for more than a decade, Mr Currado’s insight on the evolution of the institutions and processes was therefore extremely valuable and informative.
Some key lessons from working in the EU bubble were outlined during the briefing. The importance of processes was first put forward. In order to influence the institutions, one first has to understand and use the processes through which they operate. Secondly, people are at the centre of everything you do. Relationships (plus a bit of luck!) and individuals are key in Brussels, and often, the most obvious person you can think of is not necessarily the most influential. Finally, marketing and creativity also need to be considered when working in the institutions.Solutions to problems is what this town is after: in that regard, those who look at problems in a different way and offer creative solutions to problems are the most likely to achieve their goals.
Key comments on the functioning of the Council were presented during the briefing. It is important to realise that all Permanent Representations are different and don’t operate in a similar fashion. For instance, while Germany is the biggest state in the EU, it is not the most influential as many countries are more flexible and make use of the technical, rather than political, processes better.
The evolution of the Council within the EU institutional framework was also thoroughly discussed. The balance between the European Parliament and the Council has been shifted. The Parliament is now more influential, and has shown to be more comfortable making political statements than the Council. The post-Lisbon world has also affected the dynamics enormously, for instance by introducing the qualified majority voting.
The Q&A session touched upon varied issues, such as the impact of Brexit on processes and the changes in relationships between Permanent Representations and businesses.
Counsellor, Social Affairs and Environment | UKRep
Gian Marco has played a key role in the UK’s involvement in the Council of the European Union on environment, chemicals, health and social affairs policy for more than a decade both in Brussels and in the UK. Currently in his second posting at the UK Perm Rep, he is the Counsellor responsible for all environment, social affairs and healthcare files. During his career in the UK civil service he has held a variety of EU focused roles including Head of EU for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Head of EU for the Department of Rural Affairs and Environment and First Secretary, Environment at the UK Permanent Representation. During this time, his work has touched upon a wide variety of files from medical devices and medicinal products to CO2 for cars, EU ETS and the REACH regulation.