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Grayling launch their professional event series - the Grayling Espresso Forum


25 Jan 2011


EU Priorities 2020
Public Affairs

(20/01/2011 Budapest) – Grayling, a leading international Public Relations, Public Affairs, Investor Relations and Events consultancy, and one of Hungary’s top PR agencies, launched its new 2011 event series – the Grayling Espresso Forum. The events will provide a regular platform for business leaders to discuss hot topics and upcoming issues in communications and beyond.

The first Grayling Espresso Forum “Communication Challenges and Opportunities of Hungary’s EU Presidency” was held on 19 January.  In attendance as keynote speakers were the respective governmental communication heads from Slovenia, Poland and Hungary – the previous, current and next EU Presidency nations. Each gave presentations on their own experience and in preparations for hosting the EU Presidency. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring business leaders from Grayling, GE and Microsoft who discussed the ways in which big business can take advantage of hosting the EU Presidency.

György Urkuti, Head of Communications Department for the EU Presidency at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the existing challenges for Hungary during their occupancy of the Presidency. In particular he cited that the presidency is an opportunity to bring Hungary’s citizens closer to values and benefits of the Union, placing emphasis on employment and the creation of new jobs, as well as enhance the countries international reputation.

Matjaž Kek, Head of Communication Projects Division at the Governments Communications Office in Slovenia, summarized and reflected upon the Slovenian communications strategy and priorities during their own presidency. He pointed out that the communication element of the presidency, although of great importance, is not enough on itself. Rather meaningful and appropriate content must also be generated. 

The Polish keynote speaker, Joanna Skoczek, Director of the EU Presidency Coordination Department at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mentioned that Poland began its preparations for assuming the presidency in 2007. She stated that, amongst other themes, the Polish programme will be built around intellectual capital, the internal EU market and energy efficiency and security.

The keynote speeches were followed by a panel discussion on the role of key business players in incorporating the EU Presidency into their own strategy and corporate objectives. Zsuzsanna Benyó, COO of Grayling Hungary, moderated the discussion with participants including: Russell Patten - CEO of Grayling Brussels; Eszter Szabó - GE Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Leader for CEE & Turkey and board member of AmCham; and Attila Lerch – Head of Citizenship at Microsoft.

From the perspective of GE and how they incorporate the rotating EU presidency into their corporate goals, Ms. Szabo commented: “From a communications point of view, Hungary and Poland should work closely together, building on one another to leverage the opportunities offered by the EU-presidency. If emphasis is put on the similarities of the two countries’ objectives, they can succeed in achieving one-year progress in the themes they manage.  It is critical that the governments treat big company investors as partners, because they also care about the perception and the development of the region. Being one of the biggest investors and employers of Hungary and Poland, GE continues to actively support initiatives aimed at the joint actions of the two countries in themes such as innovation, modernization, and the EU’s financial planning for 2014-2020.”

“In my opinion we can only talk about a successful Hungarian Presidency if we get across at least one topic in the next six months.”- declared Attila Lerch.

Mr. Patten added that: “Grayling's seminar on the Hungarian Presidency has clearly demonstrated that the EU Presidency offers unique opportunities for the corporate world, and especially Hungarian companies, to raise their issues both at a national and supranational level in Brussels. However, strategic thinking and plenty of planning is required for this opportunity to be efficiently leveraged.”

Additional Information:

Zsuzsanna Bonnár –; 061/801-6605
Zsuzsanna Benyó –; 0620/910-6466

About Grayling

The new Grayling came into existence through the merger of three leading communications agencies in 2010: Mmd, Grayling and Trimedia. Grayling is a global Public Relations, Public Affairs, Investor Relations and Events consultancy. We have offices in 70 locations in 40 countries across Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia Pacific and we are the second largest independent PR firm in the world.  More information: and
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