Ipswich: New identity for EU policy consultancy First in Brussels

Richard Barker

Richard Barker - Credit: Archant

A consultancy launched by Suffolk lawyer Richard Barker (pictured) to advise on EU agriculture and environmental issues has adopted a new identity to mark its expansion into wider areas.

Ipswich-based First in Brussels is now also representing clients across a variety of industries including food processing, manufacturing and waste disposal.

Richard Barker has been dealing with client issues at a European level for more than 30 years and has been a member of Team Europe, the EC’s elite group of independent spokespersons, for nearly 20 years.

“Many people feel that the EU is remote and inaccessible, and it has no grasp of how decisions are taken which may affect their businesses,” he said. “This does not need to be the case. Contrary to the popular view, Brussels and the European Commission are not a fortress you simply can’t penetrate.

“Our directors and consultants have a mixture of backgrounds within industry and commerce, Government and EU institutions. They’ve brought their legal training, together with analytical, negotiating and advisory skills to tackle a range of specific issues for the benefit of clients.”

He said the market had encouraged First in Brussels to expand to extend its services to a cross-section of multi-national and small, high-growth businesses as well as Government and non-Government executive bodies.

In many situations it was important to take early, pre-emptive action particularly if prosecution proceedings were threatened, he added.

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“Often we work quietly behind the scenes, placing the concerns of our clients — businesses in the real world — before those responsible for developing and shaping policy and legislation.

“It is far better to get a law amended before it is made rather than trying to have it modified once it’s in force. That’s why the target is to influence the development of new legislation.”

A new website, created as part of the new identity by BHR Communications, provides further details about First in Brussels and its achievements. It can be found at www.firstinbrussels.com .