London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023

EU play puts ‘diabolical’ food industry lobbyists center stage

EU play puts ‘diabolical’ food industry lobbyists center stage

Europe Connexion is a cautionary tale of a corporate career in the Brussels bubble.

Corporate lobbying is literally poisoning the EU, says a forceful play that has just finished a two-week run in Brussels.

Europe Connexion is a melodramatic diatribe against lobbyists by Alexandra Badea, a francophone Romanian playwright who paints the food and farming industry as a supreme force of evil whose greedy henchmen in Brussels will stop at nothing to bend EU legislation to their benefit.

But it needn't just be about food — the play portrays Brussels as a cesspit of power-mad lobbyists and consultancies splashing millions to influence EU lawmakers to the detriment of ordinary Europeans and the planet.

Dark and angry, the piece tells the story of a ruthless assistant to an MEP who turns lobbyist for the pesticide industry, all for the sake of salary and status. Before long he’s in too deep, hallucinating about swarms of bees that he’s killed and the people he’s destroyed on his way to the top. It all ends in a full-blown mental health tailspin-cum-ethical crisis that he cannot resolve.

The narrative of cynical corporate lobbying that will be familiar to many Brussels aficionados — it's one that is often pushed by left-leaning NGOs and green groups which see any form of advocacy by industries who could stand to lose out from reforms as inherently unfair. Yet the very existence of the European Green Deal is proof the corporates don’t always have the upper hand – until it's entirely gutted of change-making powers by their lobbying influence, that is.

The play, which ran until November 26 at the downtown Théâtre des Martyrs, is strongest when it dissects the supposedly nefarious strategies lobbyists employ: schmoozing contacts over lunch, mastering the euphemistic lingo of the bubble, creating fake supportive NGOs — known as astro-turfing — or destroying an eminent professor’s credibility.

It paints the lobbyist — played by two actors, one male called Pierange Buondelmonte and one female called Aline Mahaux — as a maestro of these dark arts. In absurdist interludes the actors run on the spot to suggest how robotic and inhuman lobbying is, and swap business cards with their mouths à la American Psycho.


Thinly drawn


Europe Connexion is certainly timely and even prescient — even if it was written in 2015. Lobbying is a perennial issue in Brussels, but it's very much in the spotlight right now as the food and farming industries push back against the EU’s environmental policy agenda. Big Food's argument, that Europe can't afford to underwrite a green revolution in wartime, echoes the food-security mantra that runs through the play.

The play ran until November 26 at the downtown Théâtre des Martyrs


But, even if you believe a shadowy cabal of lobbyists is pulling the strings in Brussels, as a work of theater, it’s a dud. There’s one tone throughout, and no real characters bar the thinly-drawn lobbyist. The play's exaggerated plot ultimately weakens both its dramatic plausibility and political force: A student takes his own life after he’s outed for plagiarism by the lobbyist, whose wife slits her own wrists when he threatens to quit to save his sanity.

In fact, rather than the corporate empire, the chief villain of the piece is the one-dimensional wife who bullies her husband to stay in his hated job to make her “proud.” This retrograde depiction of the hen-pecking, materialistic wife jars with the progressive intent of the rest of the play.

The storyline also shatters on contact with the reality of the EU. Suggesting that the European Parliament is the all-important EU institution where minor acts of corporate pressure are a matter of life and death for Europe is pushing it, to say the least. To the contrary, the Parliament tends to be a more ambitious institution when it comes to banning toxic substances or calling for sweeping environmental and climate reform than other powerful parts of the EU machinery, such as the member countries assembled in the Council of the EU.

Most frustratingly of all, this outcry of Manichean activism didn't bother to engage with the other side's arguments or explore the reasons why so many intelligent human beings — who certainly could be doing other things — pursue a career in lobbying. Haven't some of them drunk the Kool-Aid and genuinely believe they're providing a vital service? Knocking down the lobbyist's scaremongering food security narrative would have made the play's arguments even stronger.

As an act of advocacy for its own cause, the play left me cold. Perhaps, instead of going to the theater, I needed to be taken out for an expensive lunch ...

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
Close
0:00
0:00
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
You're Beautiful - James Blunt (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
You Are So Beautiful
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Sattahip Motor Show 20
Shell reports highest profits in 115 years
SONATE AU CLAIR DE LUNE - Moonlight sonata
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
A kiss to build a dream on
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
Wiz Khalifa - See You Again ft. Charlie Puth, Furious
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Mean Blues
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
La Chansonnette
What is ChatGPT?
Pattaya Addicts
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Dream a little dream of me
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano - Hetty & the Jazzato Band
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Unchained Melody sung like you've NEVER heard!
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Sofie)
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Rondo Alla Turca
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Kiss of fire
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Amadeus violin cover instrumental)
China's first population drop in six decades
Tom Jones - I´ll Never Fall In Love Again 1967, 1989, 2001
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Israel Cachao López - Guajira Clásica
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
Edward Maya - Stereo Love (feat. Vika Jigulina) (Extended Mix)
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Strauss - Radetzky March - Karajan
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
La vie en rose
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Despacito (Piano Cover) - Peter Bence
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
The Temptations - My Girl (Smokey Robinson Tribute) 2006 Kennedy Cent
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Orlando Cachaito Lopez Redencion
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
Edith Piaf - NON, JE NE REGRETTE RIEN
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
RADETZKY MARCH-2008-Wien, New Year Concert
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Only you (And you alone)
Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Strangers In The Night
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Charles Aznavour - La Boheme
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Summer time
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile (from Sting's 60th birthday concert)
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
Aux Champs Elysees
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
Stand By Me - Ben E. King (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) – Avalon Jazz Band
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
She
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Nathalie Song by Enzo Petrachi Stjepan Hauser Cello
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Shape of My Heart - Sting (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
Radiohead - Creep
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Quizás,Quizás,Quizás - Andrea Bocelli - Jennifer Lopez
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Multi-Couples
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Pentatonix Havana
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
Paula Cole - Autumn Leaves
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Oscar Benton Bensonhurst Blues
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
OH NANANA vs ABUSADAMENTE
Nina Simone - ”I Put A Spell On You”. Vezi aici cum cântă Jeremy Ragsd
NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera
Motorshow 2016 Tanjay Negros Oriental
Monica Bellucci - Ti Amo
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Milena The Voice France 2018
Michael Buble (Help Me Make It Through The Night) feat Loren Allred
Memories Canon In D - Maroon 5 (Boyce Avenue piano acoustic cover)
Matteo Simoni - Marina
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Maroon 5 - Memories
Mark Knopfler - Brothers In Arms (Berlin 2007 Live)
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet (Real Live Roadrunni
Marina, Marina - The LUCKY DUCKIES intimist live concert at Guimarães
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On Mauranne The Voice France 2016
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet - Joslin - Henri Mancini, Nino Rota
LoLa & Hauser - Love Story
Linkin Park Jay-Z - Numb Encore (Live 8 2005)
Hallelujah Mennel Ibtissem, The Voice France Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen & Natasha Rostova - Dance me to the end of love
La casa de papel - Bella Ciao
La Camisa Negra
L'italiano (Toto Cutugno) - The Gypsy Queens
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
Jonathan and Charlotte - Britain's Got Talent 2012 Live Semi Final - U
John Powell - Assassin's Tango
Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On (LIVE in Dortmund)
Joe Cocker - Unchain My Heart 2002 Live
Joe Cocker - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind LIVE
Jason Mraz - Im Yours (live)
Jarrod Radnich - Bohemian Rhapsody - Virtuosic Piano Solo
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
James Blunt - You're Beautiful & Bonfire Heart (Live at The Nobel Peac)
If You Go Away - Helen Merrill & Stan Getz (Tribute to Virna Lisi)
I'LL BE MISSING YOU
I Say a Little Prayer
Hotel California ( Eagles ) 1994 Live
Historia de un amor - Luz Casal. Vezi interpretarea Biancăi Sumanariu
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on Spot
Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors
HAVANA by Camila Cabello Zumba Pre Cooldown TML Crew Kramer Pastra
HAUSER and Señorita - I Will Always Love You
HAUSER - Waka Waka
HAUSER - Sway
HAUSER - Lambada
HAUSER - Historia de un Amor
HAUSER - Despacito
Great Pretender
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice Samba to 'Volare' - Strictly Come
Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
GIPSY KINGS VOLARE Penelope Cruz
Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song
French Latino - Historia de un Amor
For A Few Dollars More The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)
Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara
Filip Rudan - “Someone You Loved” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sez
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Enya - Only Time
Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (English Version) ft. Sean Paul
Enrique Iglesias - Bailamos
Elena Yerevan Historia de un amor
Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)
Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli]
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)
Easy On Me - Adele (Boyce Avenue 90’s style piano acoustic cover) on S
ERA - Ameno
ELENA YEREVAN- Cancion Del Mariachi-IN STUDIO-2017 DPR
Dust In The Wind - Kansas (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Despacito x Shape Of You - Pentatonix
Deep Purple - Child In Time - Live (1970)
David Foster When A Man Loves A WomanIt's A Mans World (SealMichael Bo
Dance me to the end of Love ( Pi-Air Design )
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.) [Official Music Video]
Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), played on Böhm Emporio organ
Cielito Lindo
Chico & The Gypsies - Bamboleo
Canción Del Mariachi - Antonio Banderas, Los Lobos • Desperado
Camila Cabello - Havana (Audio) ft. Young Thug
Camila Cabello - Havana ( cover by J.Fla )
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas José Feliciano (Boyce Ave
Buster Benton - Money Is The Name of The Game
Hallelujah Pentatonix
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video)
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door Emilia The Voice Kids France
Besame Mucho - Cesaria Evora
Ben E. King - Stand by Me Sax Cover Alexandra Ilieva Thomann
Bella Ciao
Bella Ciao - INSTRUMENTAL
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Bad Romance - Vintage 1920's Gatsby Style Lady Gaga Cover ft. Ariana Savalas & Sarah Reich(1)
BELLA CIAO 2020 - KARAOKE ITALIANO
BAMBOLEO - Gipsy Kings • Antonio Banderas, Katya Virshilas
BAILANDO (original)
Awesome Ukrainian yodeler - SOFIA SHKIDCHENKO (with English subtitles)
Avicii - The Nights
Atom - The Great Gig in the Sky
Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Official Ly
Antonio Banderas - Cancion del Mariachi (Desperado)
André Rieu - Zorba's Dance (Sirtaki)
André Rieu - Can't Help Falling In Love
André Rieu & Mirusia - Ave Maria
Andrew Reyes Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down The Voice 2020 (
Andreas Kümmert Whiter Shade Of Pale The Voice of Germany 2013 Showd
And I Love You So
All About That Bass - Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Alan Walker - Faded (Piano Cover)
Ain't No Sunshine -- Bill Withers (cover by Canen 12 y.o.)
African music
Adriana Vidović - “Creep” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
Adriana Vidović - “Believer” Nokaut 3 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
A Fistful of Dollars - The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tuva
4 Beautiful Soundtracks Relaxing Piano [10min]
2CELLOS - Whole Lotta Love vs. Beethoven 5th Symphony [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
2CELLOS - Smooth Criminal (Live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo)
2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit [Live at Sydney Opera House]
2CELLOS - Despacito [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
13 Year Old Girl Playing Il Silenzio (The Silence) - André Rieu
094.All About That Bass
00 - SADNESS PART 1
(Ghost) Riders In the Sky (American Outlaws Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams (Boyce Avenue ft. Conn
What a wonderful world
Moon river
×