SYRIA AND RUSSIAN POWER POLITICS

Russia's support for Syria dates back to the days of the Soviet Union. The continuing partnership can be attributed to several factors- historic ties, economic interests and geopolitics. Recent Russian arms sales to Syria are worth $ 4 billion, including fighter jets and advanced missiles. Russian business investments in Syria encompassing infrastructure,energy and tourism amount to nearly $ 20 billion. A natural gas processing plant about 200 kilometres east of Homs is being constructed by Stroytransgaz, a Russian company.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROFESSIONALS LACK A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE AND EDUCATION

Globalization presents challenges that demand a new perspective on public affairs. The global economy has shaped a new business-government relationship, blunting the regulatory capacity of governments and introducing greater complexity to the design of public policies to promote important social goals.

MAKING THE EU ADVOCACY PROCESS MORE EFFECTIVE AND DEMOCRATIC

While the European Commission and the European Parliament are to be commended for having jointly established a 'Transparency Register', the point remains that making information publicly available does not automatically make information useful. Indeed, for transparency policy to be effective, the information must be both easy to understand and easy to utilize. Users must be able to register their choices clearly, and disclosers must have the ability and incentive to respond meaningfully.

LOBBYISTS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS NEED TO GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER

Lobbyists, Public Affairs and Government Relations professionals need to get their act together. Without an organised education base and compulsory continuous professional development (CPD), it will never be a profession.

AALEP HAS DEVELOPED THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE FRAMEWORK FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

AALEP has elaborated the most comprehensive framework to-date for professional development in Lobbying, Public Affairs and Government Relations. The framework comprises 1. Essential Knowledge required including over 100 courses broken down by topics  2. Required Skills and 3. Required Abilities. Possessing the right academic and professional qualifications as a knowledge base is what will enable practitioners to practice the profession professionally.

AALEP TO LAUNCH PROGRAMME OF ACCREDITATION OF COURSES IN LOBBYING, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

In order to further the professional development of lobbying, public affairs and government relations practitioners there is a need for the establishment of steady development of approved curricula. Exclusive academic and/or professional qualifications must be clearly set up to demonstrate the substantial and rigorous knowledge and skills of the profession. Qualifying examinations should be offered to evaluate the levels of practitioners’ competencies and continuous professional development should be mandatory for all members to expand their knowledge and skills.

TOWARDS THE PROFESSIONALIZATION OF LOBBYING, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS PRACTITIONERS

Today in Europe, Lobbying, Public Affairs (PA) and Government Relations (GR) practitioners suffer from low recognition, a shortage of qualified practitioners, a lack of regulation and a lack of credibility. Althoug the industry has grown at a fast pace, especially at the Brussels level, the profession has not yet matured in terms of achieving professional status in the eyes of society as a whole. It is precisely due to the lack of any appropriate regulations that quasi-lobbying in many member states is perceived as an activity which is illegitimate, privy of a narrow circle and latent.

AALEP WEBSITE RATING MOVING UP FAST!

According to Alexa, AALEP website receives 588 visitors per day. The time spent in a typical visit to the site is roughly ten minutes, with 52 seconds spent on each pageview. Visitors to the site view 3.8 unique pages each day on average. Aalep.eu has a bounce rate of about 14% (i.e., 14% of visits consist of only one pageview). 91% of the site's visitors are in Belgium, where it has attained a traffic rank of 3,261 (a rough estimate of aalep.eu's popularity in a specific country.

AALEP PUBLISHES SURVEY OF NATIONAL PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

AALEP has undertaken a complete survey of all existing national professional lobbying associations. In Europe, the associations usually encompass far more than the lobbying profession They almost always are dominated by other public relations professionals. Indeed public relations professionals significantly outnumber their lobbyist colleagues. Nonetheless, public affairs specialists who communicate with government officials and attempt to influence public policy are well represented in professional public relations associations.

TIME BOMB IS TICKING FOR GREECE!

A Greek deal must be reached before March 20, when Greece is due to receive a further €130 billion “bailout tranche” from the International Monetary Fund, and then must make a key €14.5 billion bond payment. Of the €315 billion of Greek debt outstanding, only €7.8 billion of that debt is covered by Greek credit default swaps, and the vast majority of Greek debt (€ 120 billion) is held by European banks, which have little insurance on their exposure.

What happens if Greece goes bankrupt. Here are a few things:

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