Beate Kohler-Koch, Christine Quittkat, Urszula Kurczewska
Interest Intermediation in the European Union Revisited: Report on a Survey Study

Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 151
ISSN: 1437-8574

This paper presents first results of a comprehensive survey of business interest associations (BIAs) in France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, and at the European level, as well as of selected companies and EU level NGOs. Comparing the 2012 EUROLOB II data with our survey data of 1999 (EUROLOB I), we investigate whether or not national and European interest representatives modified their strategies of interest intermediation to respond to the new competitive situation caused by enlargement, institutional reform and the Commission’s turn to new modes of governance. Our results reveal that while the number of associations has grown over the years, the number of those having contacts with EU level institutions has decreased compared to 1999. We witness a trend towards the delegation of EU lobbying to higher-level functional and higher-level territorial organizations, i.e. to national umbrella associations and to EU level BIAs. However, among those who have contacts the frequency of contacts with EU level political actors has intensified considerably. This holds especially true for the European Parliament, whose competences have increased since the turn of the century. The data also show that national business interest associations continue to differ in their approach to EU interest representation. They display different patterns concerning the selection of their contact partners, their timing of activities, and their readiness to open a representation in Brussels. As regards the new consultation instruments introduced by the European Commission in the past decade to make EU governance more open, transparent, and participatory, EUROLOB II reveals that just these instruments (online-consultations, policy forums, platforms and hearings as well as conferences) rank lower than any of the traditional instruments of interest representation.