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Chapter 12 Interest Groups and the European Union Chapter by Rainer Eising & Sonia Lehringer Cini & Pérez-Solórzano Borragán European Union Politics, 3.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 12 Interest Groups and the European Union Chapter by Rainer Eising & Sonia Lehringer Cini & Pérez-Solórzano Borragán European Union Politics, 3."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 12 Interest Groups and the European Union Chapter by Rainer Eising & Sonia Lehringer Cini & Pérez-Solórzano Borragán European Union Politics, 3 rd edition

2 Lecture Plan Institutional setting EU democracy and civil society Regulation European and national interest groups Europeanization of domestic interests Chapter 12 Slide 2

3 Institutional Setting (1) Key features of interest groups in the EU –EU as opportunity structure –Financially and structurally supported by EU –Actively included in policy making process Chapter 12 Slide 3

4 Institutional Setting (2) Key characteristics of the EU –(1) EU is highly dynamic system –(2) Horizontal and vertical differentiation –(3) Consensus building –(4) Perceived legitimacy deficit –(1)-(4) influences interest group behaviour (1) EU as highly dynamic –Shape of EU impacts number & type of interest groups –Groups develop with EU political agenda Chapter 12 Slide 4

5 Institutional Setting (3) (2) Horizontal and vertical differentiation –Role varies across pillars, institutions & policy Pillar 1: Relatively good access to EU institutions Pillars 2 & 3: Intergovernmental → highly restricted Commission: most important institution; contact with DGs EP: increasingly important; less important than Commission & Council; responsive to “diffuse” interests EU Council: not usually lobbied directly European Council: little contact with interest groups ECJ: potentially useful but lengthy & costly process European Economic and Social Committee (EESC): brings organised interests into policy; minor role Chapter 12 Slide 5

6 Institutional Setting (4) (2) Horizontal and vertical differentiation –Variation through multi-level system Different actors for different geographical territories Multiple points of access Coordination of action across levels (European, national, regional, local) (3) Consensus building –Common practice due to unpredictable policy agenda & complex political system (4) Perceived legitimacy deficit Chapter 12 Slide 6

7 Democracy and Civil Society Affect upon EU’s democratic deficit –Interest groups boost input & output legitimacy –EU uses external actors to increase efficiency of policy –EU increases functional representation through engagement with citizens’ interests –EU can monitor social change through interests groups Chapter 12 Slide 7

8 Regulation of Interest Groups (1) To regulate or not to regulate? Commission –Preferred self-regulation; now promotes regulation –Sought to increase democracy and legitimacy through transparent and inclusive use of interest groups –Established voluntary register Includes code of conduct For review in 2009 (possible upgrade to compulsory) Chapter 12 Slide 8

9 Regulation of Interest Groups (2) European Parliament –Concern re. integrity of MEPs –Established register for interest groups On signature of code of conduct, access pass received NB In favour of single, compulsory register for lobbyists –MEPs record paid activities & donations received –NB Reservations re. democratic credentials of interest groups (sectoral representation) Chapter 12 Slide 9

10 Regulation of Interest Groups (3) Proposed changes CT (2004) –“The Democratic Life of the Union” “open, transparent, regular dialogue” Towards participative democracy Citizens’ initiatives Treaty of Lisbon –“Provision on Democratic Principles” Same features as CT (above) Chapter 12 Slide 10

11 European & National Interest Groups “Eurogroups” Composed of national associations Provide expertise and seek to persuade EU institutions Distribute info on EU activities Fewer functions, fewer resources More visible at EU level Intermediaries between national and European Often internal disaggreement National interest groups Composed of individuals Approach national members of EU institutions & national institutions Less visible at EU level Involved when EU policy implemented at domestic level Chapter 12 Slide 11

12 Business Interests Key features –80% of groups for producers’/employers’ interests –Sensitive to growth of European agenda e.g. Business Europe (formerly UNICE) est –Social partners in social dialogue from mid-1980s –Large firms engage independently & directly → “elite pluralism” –Effectiveness varies over time and issue –Why dominance of business interest groups? Chapter 12 Slide 12

13 Diffuse Interests Key features –e.g. Social, human rights, religious, etc. –Large groups, broad scope, no clear membership → organisational problems –Developed with EU agenda e.g. European Environmental Bureau (EEB) est –Largest growth rate in 1990s –Commission and EP provide financial support e.g. Commission’s Social Platform Increase legitimacy credentials –To what extent are these groups independent? Chapter 12 Slide 13

14 Europeanization of National Interests Increased importance of EU policy → Consequences for national interest groups –Reassessment of group interests –Development of a European perspective –Intra- and inter-organisational changes –Possibly enhance/weaken domestic ties Organisation and issue-specific impacts Chapter 12 Slide 14

15 Lecture Review Organisation of interest groups reflects EU shape and agenda EU interest groups distinct from national –Europeanization Differences between business & diffuse Role to promote of democracy & legitimacy? Chapter 12 Slide 15


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