Christine Quittkat
A "European Model" of Interest Intermediation? The Case of National Business Interest Associations

First Annual Research Symposium 2014, CRN Centrifugal Europe: "Territorialisation of interest representation in times of economic crisis", Willy Brandt Centre of German and European Studies, University of Wroclaw, Poland, 31. Januar bis 01. Februar 2014

The paper relates to the discussion of the “Europeanization” of national state - interest group relations and of lobbying activities by national business interest associations (BIAs) of the 1990s and assesses whether today we can observe a convergence of European strategies into a “European model”. Taking into account the results of a vast research literature on EU lobbying, it is argued that Europeanization does not imply an encompassing convergence of EU lobbying strategies of national BIAs across Europe but that the “European model” of interest representation by national BIAs is one of variance. By drawing on a new, unique and comprehensive dataset of BIAs from France, Germany, Great Britain and Poland, the effect of sector specific characteristics, resource endowment, and national embeddedness on the EU interest intermediation strategies of national business associations are assessed. The results of the analysis corroborate the hypothesis of what might be called “variance in convergence”, but also shows more than anything that only a few national business associations apply encompassing strategies towards EU-level or national-level political institutions. The majority of national BIAs today at best targets selected public actors and thus seems not to be highly involved in EU lobbying, which opens up a whole set of new questions.