Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Issues

By Pop, Alexandra | Romanian Journal of European Affairs, March 2013 | Go to article overview

Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Issues


Pop, Alexandra, Romanian Journal of European Affairs


Abstract:

The volume "Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Issues", collects 16 articles on interest group politics at EU level, focusing on the main elements of European lobbying - the existing relations between the EU institutions and the special interests, the main differences between NGO and business lobbying, the specific lobbying strategies adopted in EU's main policy sectors or lobbying regulations. The volume captures the main changes that took place on the European lobbying scene in the last two decades, period in which most EU institutions developed new points of access for lobbyists, while the interest groups became more specialized. The success of an EU lobbying campaign seems to be determined by a combination of various factors such as: a good knowledge of the EU environment, a wise usage of both financial resources and expertise, direct lobbying complemented by an efficient usage of domestic routes and the capability of creating smart alliances.

Keywords: EU lobbying, interest groups politics, lobbying strategies, lobbying resources, lobbying regulation

Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Issues. David Coen and Jeremy Richardson (eds.), Oxford University Press, UK, 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-920735-0

The debate on interest groups active at European level is not new but it is more actual than ever, EU lobbying registering a significant growth with each treaty change and deepening of EU competences. European lobbying is a concept that creeps into the debates on the European Union more and more often, but a full understanding of this complex phenomenon can represent a challenge even for those specialized in EU affairs. A "newbie" in the world of European lobbying will most probably have the impression of entering "a wonderland", with paths as tangled as those encountered by a particular Alice in her adventures.

The good news is that there are academic works such as Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Issues, edited by famous specialists in EU affairs David Coen and Jeremy Richardson that offer for those interested a guide to understanding what EU lobbying is all about. Organized into five main sections, the volume collects 16 very specific studies on EU lobbying, which complement each other and finally create one of the most complex and coherent collection on interest group politics. Focusing on the institutional and actors approach to lobbying, the volume transmits a clear message: for understanding EU lobbying one must understand the differences between those who lobby - whom they represent, which institutions they prefer to approach, in which stage of the decision making process they want to get involved, which resources they offer and what kind of lobbying strategy they adopt.

In the introductory section of the volume, editors Coen and Richardson promise that all these issues will be tackled by the volume's subsequent chapters. Lobbying the European Union revolves around three main factors: the multilevel feature of lobbying, lobbying resources and political approaches. The first issue is addressed in the second section of the volume, which focuses on European lobbying from an institutional point of view and offers an impressively complex analysis of the specific relations that each EU institution has with special interests. Naturally, the first study deals with the European Commission (EC), the EU institution which has the oldest and most complex relation with interest groups. Issues such as the Commission's dependence on external expertise, the multiple access points it offers to lobbyists, its transparency demands and the importance of "early lobbying", are all tackled by Pieter Bouwen. The focus then shifts to the European Parliament (EP) depicted by author Wilhelm Lehmann as an institution which became extremely attractive in the eyes of lobbyists in the last two decades, due to the gradual increase of its legislative powers. …

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