The literature on territorial lobbying in the European Union (EU) has paid much attention to the interaction between regional representations in Brussels and the member-state central governments, and the relations of these representations with the European institutions. Surprisingly, far less systematic research has been conducted on the policies that regional representations prioritize when they lobby in Brussels. In this article, we focus on the policy portfolios of these organizations and analyze variation concerning the domains and issues these regional representations prioritize. Empirically, we demonstrate that the size and the nature of a policy portfolio is not primarily affected by the capabilities of a regional representation, but rather results from structural ties of regional lobbyists with other public and private interests. This claim is corroborated by data collected through a telephone survey with 127 officials from regional offices and trans-regional associations.
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Note that we deliberately do not speak about an organizational policy agenda, as we seek to differentiate attention at the organizational level (portfolio) from the more aggregate policy agenda that is situated at the level of specific institutional venues (for instance the governmental agenda) or political systems (such as the EU political agenda).
Sometimes legislative proposals might be difficult to classify as regulatory or distributive. In these cases we coded them as mixed and analyzed them separately. Not a single variable turned out to be significant, which is in line with our other findings.
Owing to the fact that we promised anonymity to our respondents, we are not able to present very concrete cases including names of offices and/or the companies.
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This article was submitted on 21st June 2013 and the review process was substantially completed before Jan Beyers was persuaded to succeed me as one of the editorial team. Grant Jordan
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Donas, T., Fraussen, B. & Beyers, J. It’s not all about the money: Explaining varying policy portfolios of regional representations in Brussels. Int Groups Adv 3, 79–98 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1057/iga.2013.15