Business Interest Associations and Corporate Lobbying: Which Role for Brussels?
Corporate lobbying has become an important aspect of interest representation over the past decade. The ratification of the Treaty on European Union in 1993 led to a situation in which a growing number of interest groups wanted access to the political arena and made considerable efforts to enter into consultation with the European institutions. The Commission particularly experienced a heavy increase in lobbying activities by business interest associations (BIAs). The increasing shift of activities of interest representation to the European level soon caused a situation in which the respective political institutions were facing an overload of access and information. As a consequence, these institutions had to reduce the complexity of their consultation system and therefore began to regard multinational companies (MNCs) as their natural and proven partners in the business dialogue (Coen, 1997: 96). The result of this development was that more and more Euro groups became dominated by large enterprises and direct-firm lobbying increased significantly (McLaughlin et al. 1993: 193).1 The increase in the Commission’s regulatory competencies and general institutional changes caused by the Maastricht Treaty have further facilitated direct lobbying.
KeywordsBusiness Interest European Parliament Maastricht Treaty National BIAs Interest Representation
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