Please note that module information is indicative and may change year to year.
The focus of this module is on the representation of interests in the European Union and their role in EU policy-making. Member States and EU institutions are not the only influential actors in European Union policy-making. A number of other organized interests make their presence felt – usually behind the scenes – in EU politics and policies. These actors range from pan-European trade associations and regional governments to lawyers, consultants, and multinational companies. Their presence increased with the expansion of responsibilities and membership of the European Union. The module examines the nature of organised interests in the EU and why their influence as lobbyists has increased over time in the EU policy-making process. The module also considers how the EU institutions have responded to lobbying – a process which is now an integral part of EU decision-making.
Pre-requisites: It will be useful to have some knowledge of the main 'institutions' of the EU (the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament), the way in which they are organised and the way in which the function. Read Simon Hix and Bjorn Hoyland (2011) The Political System of the European Union (Palgrave Macmillan, 3rd edition), chapters 2 and 3.
The module aims to provide a thorough understanding of the interaction between EU institutions and lobbyists across a selection of key EU policy areas. The first part of the module introduces principal theories of lobbying and policy-making. It concentrates on the analysis of EU decision-making procedures and the opportunities for access of lobby groups to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The second part of the module analyses lobbying across a number of EU policy areas. These include Trade Policy, Environment and Health Policy, Energy Policy, Telecommunications Policy, Financial Services Policy, Agricultural and Foods Policy. In the process students assess critically empirical evidence and apply their theoretical knowledge to existing pieces of EU legislation.
By the end of the module students will be able to:
Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of EU policy-making and the role of EU institutions in the decision-making process;
Demonstrate a knowledge of the role of interest groups in EU policy-making and major approaches to influencing EU legislation;
Demonstrate a knowledge of key issues of European public policy and how EU institutions and interests interact in the making of EU laws;
Critically assess the role of organised interests across a number of EU policy areas;
Demonstrate an understanding of the potential and limitations of key theoretical approaches;
Seek out key information on EU legislation through the EU’s public document databases and the EU’s lobbying register;
Effectively communicate information and argument in oral and written form.
Two hours per week, one lecture and one seminar
Indicative teaching schedule
Week 1: Introduction to Interest Groups and Lobbying
Week 2: Theories of Interest Representation
Week 3: Lobbying Strategies
Week 4: Interest Intermediation and Regulation
Week 5: Power, Influence, Success
Week 6: Redistributive Policies
Week 7: Financial Services Regulation
Week 8: Trade Policy
Week 9: Environmental Policy
Week 10: Lobbying Beyond the EU
Note that this teaching schedule is indicative and subject to change.
Module assessment - more information
One oral presentation (15%) and one 4,000 word essay (85%)