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Lobbying for the people: Interest groups and public pressure in EU legislative politics.

Opinion leaders often criticize EU lobbying as a 'disease for democracy' and detrimental to the public interest. The lobbying scandals that make it to the news headlines typically involve business lobbyists that influence or bribe corrupted policymakers in smoky backrooms. The public image of EU lobbying is very negative. This negative image, however, might not be an accurate depiction of what lobbying and interest group politics in Brussels entails. In many instances, interest groups – such as business groups, NGOs and labor unions – serve as key transmission belts between the public and EU policymakers. These organizations can make EU policymakers more responsive by informing them about how much support a specific policy issue enjoys among citizens. The role of interest groups in elucidating public pressure to policymakers remains largely neglected in both responsiveness and interest group studies. Clarifying this role will precisely be the focus of my postdoctoral project. The main research question I aim to answer is: To what extent and under which conditions are EU policy outcomes responsive to public pressures articulated by interest groups? Empirically, the project departs from a stratified sample of policy proposals put forward by the European Commission. For each proposal, I will identify – by triangulating multiple data-sources – the entire set of stakeholders that sought to influence the legislative outcome and the information about public pressure they voiced.
Date:1 Oct 2016  →  15 Aug 2019
Disciplines:Multilevel governance, National politics, Political behaviour, Political organisations and institutions, Other political science, European union politics, Interest group politics