Lobbying in Brussels: Informing the Political Process

By Dunmore, 4th Earl of | European Business Forum, Autumn 2002 | Go to article overview

Lobbying in Brussels: Informing the Political Process


Dunmore, 4th Earl of, European Business Forum


Lobbying has long been a dirty word, conjuring up visions of nefarious activity and usually involving payment for political favours. The title of a new book by the professor of political science at Rotterdam University does little to dispel this impression. Machiavelli in Brussels--the art of lobbying the EU has an appropriate ring of subterfuge, even if the contents are entirely above board.

The truth about lobbying is altogether more prosaic. Lobbying is the means whereby interested parties seek to influence the political process. This may involve large organisations representing powerful interests or small groups who simply have something important to say. As such, lobbying helps to inform as it seeks to influence and promotes better public policy in the process.

The absence of corruption in the body politic is the best protection against corrupt practice in lobbying. The key requirements of Government are free and equal access, transparency about who is representing what to whom and dispassionate assessment by policy-makers of competing claims.

The European 'Capitol'

The need for vigorous lobbying is nowhere more pronounced than in Brussels. In member states of the European Union, a reasonably ready connection can be made between Government and governed, with the civil service providing apolitical support. The EU institutions are, almost inevitably, more diffuse with the unelected Commission having the sole right to propose legislation, which is then disposed by a combination of the Council of Ministers, comprising national governments from all member states and the European Parliament, with its loosely composed groupings of directly elected MEPs from across the Union. The current review of governance by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing may remedy some aspects of the EU's 'democratic deficit' but seems unlikely to compensate for the impact of further enlargement.

Ignorance may be bliss but legislators in Brussels are commendably aware of the dangers of developing well-intentioned proposals which are insufficiently grounded in reality. As a consequence, most lobbyists would agree that Commission officials are refreshingly open to representations from parties within individual member states, sometimes offering them better access than their own national administrations. In particular, officials are keen to challenge and be challenged on the practicalities of nascent policies with a view to achieving robust results.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Widening writ

It remains to be seen whether such ease of access can be sustained as the number of member states grows and the competence of the EU to legislate widens. Strictly speaking, only European organisations have the right of representation; those able to achieve a constructive and timely consensus (such as trade associations) are powerfully placed to make an impact, though consensus can prove as elusive in transnational industry bodies as in the EU's own political institutions. In any event, the Commission seems to welcome national perspectives as an additional check and balance.

What seems certain is that the impact of the EU on business and the need for effective lobbying will continue to grow. For many years, industries other than agriculture had little cause to take much notice of what was happening in Brussels--but the advent of the single market programme and the progressive extension of powers through the Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice treaties have radically changed perspectives. Furthermore, the EU acts on behalf of all member states in the World Trade Organisation, occupying a crucial position in relation to most trades and services, including highly charged issues such as genetically modified organisms and intellectual property rights.

Effective lobbying

So what makes for an effective lobby? For many people, lobbying almost by definition requires meetings with politicians and conjures up visions of protesters thronging nearby streets. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Lobbying in Brussels: Informing the Political Process
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.