N° 7, 2002/3 – Interest Groups and the European Union
edited by Emiliano Grossman, Sabine Saurugger, 2002/3 (n°7)
Emiliano Grossman, Sabine Saurugger – Studying Interest Groups in Europe
Christine Quittkat – French Professional Organizations: A Europeanized Intermediation of Interests?
This paper discusses the question of how business associations in the Netherlands and Germany are responding to the pressures of the Europeanisation of political decisionmaking. Does European unification promote convergence towards one organisational model and does it lead business associations in both countries to develop similar strategies to influence EU institutions? Alternatively, do these associations keep concentrating their activities on national agencies and authorities, maintaining much as it is of established – and diverse – modes of interest representation? It is argued that the transference of representational activities to the European level by associations is but one among many possible outcomes of the changes associated with processes of European integration. This argument implies that national alliances and partnerships most likely remain important for business associations when representing their members’ interests. Domestic institutions, then, will largely structure the way in which business associations can reorganise and adjust their representational strategies to a policy process increasingly taking place in a multi-level European system.
David Coen, Charles Dannreuther – When size matters. Europeanisation of large and SME business government relations
This paper compares the Europeanisation of large and small business representation. While approaches to European integration have focused on the way that European society has related to the European level in the process of polity building, the study of Europeanisation provides differing insights through the analysis of policy making. This distinction allows the paper to identify the development of specific incentives and norms that have influenced the lobbying environment at the European level. By distinguishing between “top down” and “bottom up” business representation the paper identifies the competing influences on business interest interaction at the national and European levels and allows for the comparison of how these have influenced the experience of large and small businesses. The paper concludes that the process of business interest Europeanisation has taken on a very distinct logic at the European level with the development of fora under an activist Commission, but that SME and large firms have reacted to these opportunities in diverse ways. Finally, the paper warns that while it may be that the EU is uniquely open and accessible for those with clearly defined interests, those that lack the organisational resources to match the stringent requirements for interest articulation may find themselves excluded from the emerging European polity.
Interest groups choose whichever strategy of influence they consider the most likely to succeed when pursuing EU public policy issues. Sometimes they select collaborative strategies and create or participate in coalitions with their contemporaries. The article examines the characteristics of public interest group coalitions and the environment in which they emerge. It investigates what role public policy issues, opposition interest groups and the EU institutions play in the decision to collaborate by presenting a preliminary hypothesis drawn from the literature on American and European interest representation, collective action and new institutionalism and using a case study to test it. The empirical findings confirm the importance of the context in which interest group coalitions develop and suggest the need for further research.