Diplomatic Support Services – The team - as well as individual team members - provided an extensive range of support services to diplomatic missions of “third-countries” in Brussels, including countries from the Middle East and Arabian Gulf Region, West-Africa, South-East Asia and Central Asia. Support was provided in monitoring and analysing EU foreign policy developments, strategic and hands-on support in engaging with EU institutional stakeholders, EU-focused training for diplomats, consular and diplomatic law support (contractual disputes, blocking of bank accounts, harassment of diplomats, local embassy staff/employment law), public diplomacy campaigns, trade & commerce support.
Team members also have been seconded (in-house) to diplomatic missions in Brussels.
More internationally, the team and individual team members assisted parties involved in the UN-led international peace efforts for Syria with focus on the negotiations taking place in Geneva, in particular advising on media strategy and public diplomacy.
Public International Law – Advising a foreign government on legal interpretation and strategy addressing concerns at EU level around extra-territorial effects of certain US legislation, infringing on the sovereign immunity of states. The US legislation involved the much-debated “Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA in short). As part of the assignment, extensive outreach to EU Member States was conducted, as well as participation (as experts) in a hearing in the French Parliament.
VISA Waiver – Designing and implementing a strategy for a country in the Middle East & Arabian Gulf Region, aiming at obtaining visa-waiver status for their citizens traveling to the Schengen-Zone. A complex assignment that involved supreme knowledge of the EU visa policies and regulations, diplomatic and EU Institutional experience and coordination capabilities to cover not only the EU Brussels angle but also outreach in EU Member States. In co-operation with the diplomatic missions of the country and ministry of foreign affairs in the capital, a campaign-based approach – with the center of gravity in the European Parliament – was successfully executed and visa-free travel for the citizens of the respective country was ultimately ensured.
Trade Preferences – Successfully assisting a country in South Asia obtain the GSP+ trade preference status. This status is an important incentive and benefit for trading with the European Union. The team designed a campaign to achieve this status, which included mainly the European Council and the European Parliament during the end-game. In addition the team advised on the eligibility criteria that the country had to fulfill, including required international treaty obligations and performance on e.g. Human Rights, combating terrorism and protection of the environment.
Trade & Market Access – Assisting a country in South-East Asia analysing their competitive standing compared to regional rivals in “doing business with Europe", in combination with advice of market-access rules to the EU for a range of goods and products. In particular the EU policy and regulatory developments around palm oil production were of interest to the client. In addition, the Embassy in Brussels was assisted with streamlining their local staff employment system.
Central Asia – Assisting the Diplomatic Mission in Brussels of a leading country in Central Asia with their EU policy and public diplomacy engagement with the European Institutions. Strong emphasis on the relationship with the European Parliament, following the inauguration of the newly-elected parliament mid-2019. Monitoring and analyzing (foreign) policy developments of interest and relevance are an integral part of the engagement.