EPACA welcomed Matthias De Moor as guest speaker at the AGM, as well as announcing this year’s John Houston essay contest winner

Brussels 2/05/2023 – The European Public Affairs Consultancies’ Association (EPACA), the representative trade body for public affairs consultancies working with EU institutions, announces a new Board, welcoming Erik Jonnaert as its newest member. The appointment of the Board took place at this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, 20th of April 2023, which began at the offices of Political Intelligence and concluded at the Coudenberg Palace. Matthias De Moor, General Representative of Flanders to the EU, gave a keynote speech at the event, where he shared his insights on preparing for the Belgian Presidency in 2024.

EPACA’s newly elected Board members are: Andrew Cecil, Andrew Johnson, Charles Laroche, Isabelle De Vinck, Karl Isaksson, Kathleen Laissy, Kerstin Duhme, Kieran O’Keeffe, Martin Wittenberg, Nicholas Whyte, Oliver Drewes, Paolo Nicoletti, Robert Anger, Viviana Spaghetti, and the newly nominated member Erik Jonnaert. They will fulfil a one-year mandate as Board members.

Speaking on his new role in the EPACA Board, Erik Jonnaert said: “It is important that public affairs consultants continue joining forces to ensure that we can contribute to a democratic decision-making process in Europe in a transparent way while respecting high ethical standards.”

EPACA, active since 2005, promotes the public affairs profession and aims to increase trust and transparency in the sector by advocating for positive engagement. As part of its activities, EPACA provides trainings and events for member companies on topics of relevance to public affairs. Among these is the John Houston Essay Contest, a yearly competition where young members of EPACA’s membership can showcase their writing skills and win a training scholarship. This year’s winner was Aralda Torres, of member company Nemec+Chvatal, whose essay on “Is AI a trend or the next big thing? How will it impact the EU public affairs sector?” won the top scores from the independent professional practices panel.

Speaking on the news, Isabelle De Vinck, Chairperson of EPACA, stated: “I would like to thank all our attending members for making this year’s AGM a success and would particularly like to thank our guest speaker Matthias De Moor for his insightful and valuable input on preparing for the Belgian Presidency in 2024. Welcome to our new Board, which was appointed during our Statutory Assembly; I look forward to another great year of work to promote transparency and ethics in the public affairs sector. Lastly, as a Board we extend our congratulations to Aralda Torres for her the winning submission to this year’s John Houston Essay Contest.”