Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

This book explains when and how interest groups are influential in the European Parliament, which has become one of the most important lobbying venues in the EU. Yet we know little about the many ways in which interest groups and lobbyists influence parliamentary politics. The author offers insights on four key cases of lobbying, based on the analysis of EU documents, lobbying letters, and 150 interviews. She argues that lobbying success depends on a number of factors, most notably the degree of counter-lobbying, issue salience, and committee receptiveness. These factors are brought together in the framework of “Triple-I” - interests, issues, and institutions – to determine the success or failure of lobbying. This book will be of use to students and scholars interested in EU politics and governance, EU decision-making, and interest group politics, along with policy-makers and practitioners.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
In this introductory chapter, I present the research question of the book and situate it in the literature. The objective of the book is to examine under which conditions interest groups shape policy outcomes in the European Parliament (EP). Even though the EP has become an increasingly important lobbying venue in Brussels due to the expansion of its powers, researchers have paid little attention to how lobbying in the EP plays out. For a long time, the EP has had a reputation as a champion of diffuse interests. This contrasts with the interest group literature’s assumption of a business bias in politics. It is, therefore, time to gain a more nuanced understanding of interest group influence in the EP. The chapter also presents the book’s key concepts, case selection, and methods.
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Chapter 2. Where, When, and How Does Lobbying Take Place in the European Parliament?

Abstract
In this chapter, I examine the different lobbying venues in the European Parliament (EP) and discuss the nature of lobbying inside the institution. The chapter addresses three main questions: What characterises lobbying in the EP compared to elsewhere? How do interest groups look after their long-term interests? How does one go about lobbying on specific dossiers (short-term lobbying)? The chapter shows that lobbying on specific dossiers is concentrated on a handful of key MEPs (rapporteurs and shadows) during the committee stage at first reading. The chapter highlights the importance of building long-term and trustworthy relations with MEPs and EP officials (informal/long-term lobbying) in order to facilitate influence on specific pieces of legislation (formal/short-term lobbying).
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Chapter 3. What Are the Conditions for Interest Group Influence?

Abstract
Why are even ostensibly strong interests, such as “big business”, sometimes less influential in shaping policy outcomes than weak interests, such as labour unions and non-governmental organisations? In this chapter, I develop a theoretical framework for studying interest group influence in the European Parliament. I do so by focusing on a number of key factors that may further, or limit, the ability of interest groups to shape policy outcomes. These relate to interest group factors (the ability to stand united), issue factors (the complexity and saliency of issues) and institutional factors (decision-makers’ receptiveness to certain arguments and interests). Together, these factors explain why interest groups with a high potential for influence often see their powers curtailed.
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Chapter 4. Regulating CO2 Emissions for Vans: Is the European Parliament Still a Defender of Environmental Interests?

Abstract
In this chapter, I analyse lobbying on the directive on the reduction of CO2 emissions from vans, which was a lobbying success for the car industry. The chapter shows that the car industry was influential because they stood united and faced little opposition. The conclusions cast doubt on the European Parliament’s (EP’s) reputation as an environmental champion by demonstrating that the EP has become an environmental pragmatist. The move from environmental “trailblazer” to pragmatist is partly a result of the increased cooperation between the EP’s committees as well as cooperation between the EP and the Council. The norms and working procedures of the ordinary legislative procedure have put a lid on the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety’s environmental ambition.
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Chapter 5. Food Information to Consumers: Variation in Lobbying Success Across Issues

Abstract
This chapter studies the regulation on food information to consumers, which was subject to immense industry lobbying and media attention. The chapter shows that the European Parliament did not live up to its previous reputation as a strong advocate of consumer interests. Prima facie, the regulation looks like a classic example of business bias in politics. However, a closer look at the regulation reveals that diffuse interests were not completely ineffective. Variation in business unity across issues within the dossier meant that business groups did not dominate all issues. Specific issues within the dossier created fissures within the food industry by pitting companies against each other.
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Chapter 6. When Lobbying Produces Clear Winners and Losers: Regulating Working Time

Abstract
This chapter examines lobbying on the road transport working time directive, which resulted in clear lobbying “winners” and “losers”. The main bone of contention was whether or not self-employed bus and lorry drivers should be subjected to the same rules on working hours as drivers employed by companies. Labour unions were vehemently against the Commission’s proposal to exclude self-employed drivers from the scope of the directive. Employers’ associations supported the Commission’s proposal. However, they faced two major stumbling blocks: lack of unity and no long-term contacts in the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. This prevented them from speaking with one voice and gave rise to asymmetrical lobbying, where the labour unions had the opportunity to almost solely influence politicians’ interpretation of the issue.
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Chapter 7. When Lobbying Becomes Counterproductive: The Maternity Leave Directive

Abstract
This chapter examines lobbying on the European Commission’s attempt to revise the maternity leave directive. Parliament’s policy outcome represents a clear lobbying success for women’s right groups and labour unions to the detriment of employers’ associations. Business groups were unable to have their views reflected in the European Parliament (EP)’s report because the responsible committee opposed their views. In the end, however, diffuse interests lost the lobbying battle as the Juncker Commission withdrew its proposal after a prolonged deadlock between the EP and the Council. The chapter highlights what happens when interest groups are unrealistic about what is achievable in co-decision. Pushing too hard for one’s ideal preferences in the EP can ultimately result in a gridlock between the institutions.
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Chapter 8. Conclusion

Abstract
This chapter offers a comparative analysis of the case studies and examines the scope conditions for interest group influence. I show that business is likely to prevail over policy outcomes in instances when there is unity within the business community, business groups are faced with low salience issues, and mainstream committees are in charge of dossiers. While the corporate world may, in some abstract sense, be regarded as representing a capitalist class interest, this notion is a platitude of little analytical and empirical value. This is because business is faced with countervailing forces which cap its influence—most notably, noisy politics, unsympathetic committees, and rifts within the business sector itself. Business often finds itself battling not labour unions or non-governmental organisations (NGOs), but itself.
Maja Kluger Dionigi

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen