Pedro Oliveira – with meticulousness for Europe’s economy

Pedro Oliveira is Director for Legal Affairs, BusinessEurope

“The devil is in the details,” Pedro Oliveira quotes a phrase you hear frequently in Brussels. “I find it fulfilling to pierce through draft legislation to the point where I find these details.” The Portuguese works as Director for Legal Affairs at BusinessEurope. The employers’ association is a heavyweight among lobby groups in Brussels. It includes 40 member associations from various countries. Thus, BusinessEurope claims to represent the interests of 20 million companies.

“We try to translate the many different voices from business into one voice,” Oliveira describes his task. The many voices of the members are fascinating, but also a challenge: “We represent companies from small stores to huge factories, so it is sometimes difficult to agree on a common position. This is because – in true European fashion – it is developed as unanimously as possible. This works particularly well for issues that affect all members across all sectors.

Proficient in five languages and an attention to detail

At present, the jurist is dealing with the planned EU Supply Chain Act: “That is definitely one of the primary topics I’m spending a lot of time on right now.” He is taking a close look at the Commission’s draft in order to be able to exert influence in the further process. In his department, he is supported by three other lawyers and a secretary. In total, BusinessEurope employs around 1,200 experts. Oliveira emphasizes that he is a European through and through.

Born on May 9 – Europe Day – he studied law and banking law in Lisbon and European law in Brussels. This helps him to bring the many voices of Europe’s entrepreneurs to a common level: He speaks not only Portuguese and English, but also Dutch, Spanish and French. Before Oliveira joined BusinessEurope in 2009, he already spent several years working on European communication. At the College of Europe, he devoted himself to the “codification and consolidation of EU law” – on behalf of the Commission and together with colleagues who spoke all official languages of the EU.

“It was a little nerdy,” Oliveira admits. “Our job was to sift through legislation to look for inconsistencies and language errors.” That attention to detail, he says, suited him well. Their report then went to the EU Parliament and Council for improvements.

He has now been Director for Legal Affairs at BusinessEurope for four years. The 42-year-old says the highlight of his job is the thematic and human variety. There’s constant conversation, he says, “not only with our members from the business community, but also with various NGOs and consumers.” Admittedly, they don’t always agree. “But at least we are able to discuss with each other, which is extremely important.” Paul Meerkamp


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