The EU is now part of national political debate. Even so, there's a long way to go before people start to feel they have a say in EU policy, largely because business and other interests have difficulty operating at EU level.
And yet, crisis forces Europeans to use their Union to act together on all the great questions of our time. Civil society must adapt and play its part in this process. It has a right to be heard at EU level and a duty to its members to coalesce and organise efficiently for that purpose, especially as EU law cannot be reversed at national level.
Nor should the EU policy debate be restricted to Europeans. In a gobal economy, the rules and standards set by the world's greatest trading power are everyone's business. The EU has recognised this. Its most sophisticated trade agreements provide for cooperation with foreign governments upstream, at the design stage of the policy process so as to avoid producing uselessly diverging rules down the line. The involvement of organised interests - European and non-European - in this cooperation is also foreseen. Making that work is a challenge and an exciting new frontier in international cooperation.
Organising EU interest groups requires particular skills and experience, first at creating a sense of community and team spirit, then at agreeing on objectives and positions that are not lowest common denominator, and finally at getting everyone to work 'to specification' with the national ministries and Members of the European Parliament who make EU law.
Over two decades, MacBrien Cuper Isnard has been instrumental in taking one of Europe's major industries - real estate - to the highest levels of EU policy achievement. We are equipped to apply these skills to other sectors of industry and society, in Europe and beyond.