Simulation games for the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

How does lobbying in Brussels work?

On the ILO’s campus in Turin, the International Training Center offers training events for European social partners, i.e. unions and employers. Our job during these events is to convey to young members of the European employers’ associations how the representation of interests functions in Brussels as well as when and where to become active.

The ILO training campus is beautifully situated by the river Po on the former Expo site of 1961. By now, we have visited six times in order to explain to young staff of European employers’ associations how successful lobbying works. Furthermore, we convey the process of European law-making and the European social dialogue.

In 2012, we developed three short simulation games especially for this workshop. The games highlight different aspects and phases of the representation of interests. The first phase deals with the first part of the EU legislative procedure in which the European Commission develops a proposal for a new law. Five interest groups from both employers’ associations and unions as well as a fictional corporation are trying to influence the Commission. To do so, they must try to get appointments with employees at the relevant directorates-general, collect facts and arguments for presentation and to act convincingly. Two press groups are reporting live, putting their very own spin on things.

The second game is a sequel to the first: The Commission’s proposal is debated in the EU Parliament and in the Council of Ministers. The interest groups from both camps must now identify the relevant actors in the EP and the Council, pursue and put forward their interests and navigate through the complex institutional procedure.

The third simulation game simulates the social dialogue: here, social partners (unions and employers) are able to create European law in certain areas. But first, both sides must agree on their respective negotiating mandates. This means creating consensus among different national associations, different sectors of the economy as well as the European level. Not the easiest task…

Facts + Figures

Target group

Young staff of several European countries' employers' associations

  • Understanding the basics of effective lobbying in Brussels
  • Putting various techniques of lobbying to the test
  • Becoming familiar with formal and informal aspects of the European legislative procedure
  • Handling the media and training to speak in front of a camera

International Training Centre at the International Labour Organisation (ITC-ILO)


Two modules of 1 and 0,5 days respectively

Number of participants