Beate Kohler-Koch, Christine Quittkat
Intermediation of Interests in the European Union

Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 9
ISSN: 1437-8574

The working paper gives a first evaluation of a comprehensive survey of trade associations in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and at the European level. This survey is part of a broader research programme on "Interest Intermediation in the European Union" that started with a number of case studies and a survey of the Members of the European Parliament on their experience and their attitudes concerning lobbying. The objective of the research is twofold: to give an empirical account of the differences and similarities between organisational patterns and strategies of national and European trade associations, and to explain the existing convergences or continuing discrepancies in theoretical terms.
The questions were selected in a way to test the relevance of selected variables in terms of specific characteristics of actors and institutional properties of member states and the EU system. The data of the survey confirm our expectation that trade associations have adjusted to the (new) "European" political dimension but they also reveal significant differences in organisation and strategic behaviour along national lines.
This is in contradiction to conventional wisdom which tells us that the Community system's specific properties will lead to specific patterns of interest representation in EU politics, and that the increasing orientation towards a common environment will promote the convergence of national systems.