To what extent, is the European Union more democratic with the increasing involvement of interests groups in the EUs decision-making process?
Résumé de la fiche
Most interest groups emerged as Europe's post war construction developed, with a key growth period in the early 1990's coinciding with relaunching of European integration through the Single European Act in 1986 and the treaty of Maastricht in 1992. The special institutional character of the EU and, in particular, its fragmented system of power creates a unique environment in which private and public interests can operate. As the range of European policy-making has been extended, and as European legislation has become more technical and detailed, more and moreinterestsgroups have recognised that European public policy is a key feature of their organisational environment2. Both private interest groups, (profit organizations), and public interests (non-profit interests) are present in Brussels trying to influence the process of decisionmaking and the European legislation by lobbying the institutions3. The European interest group system is now extremely extensive.
Sommaire de la fiche
Who is represented? Towards a more balanced influence between private and public interest or the strengthening of the democratic process
Historical importance of private interest groups in EU policy-making
An increasing influence of the public interest groups
The outside interets in the European Union: a dependent and elitist expertise or the ?democratic deficit' as a permanent issue
The dependence of the outside interests on the Commission
The outside interest : an elitist expertise
Extraits de la fiche
[...] The counter-power represented by the outside interests seems damaged by this dependence The outside interest : an elitist expertise Rather than to influence properly the European legislation process, the outside interests provide an useful expertise to resolve the Commission's ?management deficit'. This institution has too much to do and not enough people to do it with. Interest groups can provide the services with technical information and constructive advice. For instance, as we saw below, the territorial interests have little influence in the European Union mainly because the size of the funds is decided upon by Member States in intergovernmental summitry. Regions from centralized countries (Greece, Portugal and Ireland) are the worst represented in Brussels, with Portugal not represented at all. [...]
[...] For instance, when the 1998 ?funding crisis' of social NGOs blew up, Commission officials in some services left their desks to join NGOs in street protests outside Commission offices. Judgements delivered by the ECJ have also had a major impact on the course of European Integration and a significant number of these have centrally involved public society interests (see Defrenne cases with the Women's Legal Defence Fund). As a response to the economic integration, consumer groups were involved in markets and their regulation, early. [...]
[...] In brief, the European Union is a new political system still dealing with the ?democratic deficit' issue despite the significant help of the outside interests in filling this gap. Bibliography Abbott, K.(1997) `The European Trade Union Confederation: Its Organisation and Objectives in Transition', Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol.35(3), pp.465-481. Chryssochoou, D.N (2003), democracy and the democratic deficit' in Cini, M (ed.) European Union Politics, Oxford, chapter 23, pp.365-382. Eising, R. (2003), `Interest Groups and the European Union' Europeanisation' in Cini, M (ed.) European Union Politics, Oxford, chapter 13, pp.192-207. [...]
[...] Some interest groups have been discouraged by these demanding procedures set up by the Commission Mary E. Preston notices that contrary to the European Parliament who has tried to regulate interest groups access, ?Having rejected the option of imposing a Code of Conduct linked to an accreditation system, the Commission opted for encouraging special interest groups towards self- regulation. (Mary E. [...]
[...] Indeed, firstly, we can assume that the increase of interests groups at EU level competes with and undermines the parliamentary representation with different kind of legitimacy (expertise versus political representation, particular interests versus general interests). Some speak about post-parliamentary governance? to describe the situation. Moreover, the authors underline another debate related to the kind of democracy that the EU has developed involving interest groups. Do we follow the American model where the public decision is the result of individual interests' pressure? (Smets and Winand 2002). [...]
À propos de l'auteur
Alice P.en rechercheUnion EuropéenneTo what extent, is the European Union more democratic with the increasing involvement of interests groups in the EUs decision-making process?