Advocacy in Spain
Having covered Spanish political developments for our clients for many years, recently RPP Group helped organise for the first time an event in the Spanish Congress. On the back of a hugely promising and rewarding advocacy programme to promote better newborn screening practices, we have come up with a list of the 5 things you need to know about effectively prioritizing issues in Spain.
1. Be Strategic and Be Unique
This seems like an obvious first point but all too often advocacy groups target the EU5 looking to paint their same strategy on the political scene. Each political scenario and group of stakeholders needs and deserves a unique approach. In our work we have encountered a variety of very professional advocacy groups but without aligning a clear objective and timeline that is appropriate to the political context, even the best causes can loose momentum. Often consultancies can help bring an external presence to focus these objectives but even without outside help – having a clear objective and sticking to your strategy is essential.
2. Involve the Regions
Further to the ‘1 size does not fit all’ doctrine, you cannot underestimate the importance of the Regions in your advocacy efforts in Spain. Often healthcare decisions are more streamlined at regional level and it is therefore a more appropriate approach than immediately looking for national coverage. These regions can act as an important catalyst for a snowball effect across the country. Our work included outreach in several regions and catalyzing advocacy groups to use all possible contacts in those regions. This led to multi-front momentum and had a tangible impact on national politics. Don’t forget the Regions – they may be your best lead!
3. Engage the Media
Understanding Spanish culture is crucial here – Spain has a fantastic journalistic culture and both mainstream and specialist news is widely read. Politicians are often featured and, knowing this, effective press engagement helps amplify messages from political supporters. Our work covered both regional and national news outlets, mainstream and specialist, and this coverage sprung new interest from policy makers we had not even reached yet. However beware, the mainstream news is very prestigious and requires an experienced hand to make sure your Press Release goes on the front page rather than in the bin.
4. Know the Parliamentary System
Oral Questions, Written Questions, Non-legislative motions, legislative motions, inter-territorial councils etc. etc. Knowing the impact of each of these, the procedure for their adoption or discussion is crucial to building your strategy. Furthermore, how do the group meetings work, when can you book rooms in the Congress? In the Senate? Can you have external events on Committee weeks? These are all questions that, if you don’t know the answers you are missing a trick. Experience is invaluable here.
5. Be Flexible!
Needless to say, the Spanish political scene is tumultuous at the moment but that is not to say you cannot succeed in profiling your topic. There are only so many discussions people can have on Catalonia before the health committee has time for other topics. It is crucial to understand the dynamics of a political office in Spain and react well to them.
With this experience, we feel that we are well suited to support any group implement these 5 steps which are just a few in the myriad of complexities to building successful campaigns in Spain. If you want to know more, our Spanish colleagues will be thrilled to discuss how we can work on your topic to make it the next big success in Spain – please contact us at contact(at)rpp-group.com.