Interest Representation in the EU: An Open and Structured Dialogue?

  • Justin Greenwood


Since 1992, the European Commission has sought to build ‘An Open and Structured Dialogue’ with interest groups, and since 2001 a broader ‘Dialogue with Civil Society’. A core feature of this dialogue involves instruments of transparency, and pluralism, with funding to ensure the presence of a wide range of voices. Consultation procedures provide for a ‘marketplace of ideas’ which simulate political competition and contestation, with a ‘voice but not a vote’, and which are supposed to provide for answerability by the European Commission for its policy choices. The European Commission also selects its allies to support its regulatory proposals, with NGOs frequent allies as well as firms and business sectors supporting higher standards. The EU’s fragmented decision-making system helps to provide a naturally pluralist environment, although some recent research suggests that NGOs are more likely to be successful in securing their policy goals than business organizations. NGOs work mostly in coalitions, with the size of coalition a factor in lobbying success. The saliency of issues is another substantial feature of variation in lobbying success and where NGOs can raise the contention of issues they can bring wider participation in EU issues.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robert Gordon UniversityAberdeenUK

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