EUROLOB II – Europeanization of Interest Intermediation
EUROLOB II investigated if and how national and European business interest associations (BIAs) respond with modified strategies to changing context conditions caused by institutional reforms, increased lobbying competition, and a new EU consultation regime. As the research was based on the replication of an earlier survey (EUROLOB I, 1999) and addressed BIAs in Germany, Great Britain, France, Poland, and the EU, it allowed for a comparison across time and countries. Both were total population surveys; EUROLOB II with a response rate of 28.82 per cent (N = 566).
EUROLOB II showed that the ways and means of interest representation in the EU have not changed dramatically since the turn of the century. EU lobbying is a multilevel affair, with national associations mostly addressing both national and EU decision makers, and EU level associations also (albeit less often) turning to national institutions. The frequency of contact varies with the position of the decision makers in the policy process and strongly differs between the working level and the top level of institutions, irrespective of national or European location. National associations still prefer close contacts to the national administration, but for most of them the working level of the Commission is not far behind. The European Parliament is now considered to be far more important than in the past and, accordingly, has attracted more contacts by national associations, whereas EU BIAs have slightly reduced their attention to the EP.
The differences between the national business associations from old member states have diminished (but not vanished). Polish associations show quite distinct contact patterns: They address EU institutions less frequently than BIAs from France, Germany, and Great Britain. Whereas the latter almost exclusively focus on administrative responsibility, Polish BIAs attach high importance to nationality, personal relationship, and party membership when selecting their contact partners.
Concerning the organisational properties which are most likely to condition BIA behaviour, financial resources, the level of representativeness, and the association’s scope are the factors predicting best the frequency of contacts between business representatives and decision makers in the EU.