The EU Business Lobby Dr David Coen University College London School of Public Policy Questions • Has a EU business-government relationship developed. • If so what are implications for firms’ preferences for direct and collective business-government arrangements. • How firms have developed a government affairs function - best practice in Brussels. • What are the implications European Public Policy. The Firms’ Political Preferences Allocation of Company Resources Figure 1. 25 % 20 r 15 e s rr o 10 u c 5 e 0 N.Ass N.Civil M.P. Govt Region E.Fed. UNICE E.C. E.M.P. EP Lobby Other Govt.ent FfffFed Political options ral Ass 1994 1984 Evolution of Business Interests • Pre-SEA 1953-1985 - Corportatist attempt. • SEA - 1985-1992 - Open Pluralist system. • Single Market - 1992-2000- Elite pluralism - Forums and Alliance politics. SEA - Lobbying Boom Time • 200 firms open offices - 1000 lobbyists • Economic boundaries change. • Business Issues change - 300 Directives • QMV 1990s Competitive Lobbying • Proactive - learned from US firms.- Professional Brussels Offices. • Direct lobbying of Commission and EP. - focused on decision makers - establish relationships over time • Focused use of Federations - share policy leads and information. • Lobbying- faster and effective. New political identities for firms. Environment created: For Firms ------ For Commission • Credibility. • Quick and Reliable information • Wider Constituency - Trust. • Constituency. • European Identity. • Implementers • Goodwill • Mediators New EU Government-Business Relationship and Integration. • Elite pluralism - Forum politics - Alliances. • EC can pull in firms. - Band wagon effect.- Invite leaders to participate and rivals will restructure lobbying to also participate. • Europeanise the domestic public policy system? Some but gradual - not SMEs. National Changes in Brussels • Britain: MNs arrived early/US lobby experience. - Global perspective - UK “Company State” Model with DTI/Agencies - Similar skills in Brussels, but note increasing use of reformed European Federations. France: Slow to arrive in Brussels. QMV, Convergence criteria, Europeanisation of activity and Liberalisation changed focus. - learned to be proactive. But still a domestic focus 1st and EU 2nd - the Eurostar problem!! • Germany: Some of biggest policy players in Brussels. Corporatism under pressure but strong (biggest threat is capital market) - Competitive forces have driven firms to Brussels. Different perspective on how institutions should develop - ie favour increasing use of EU Competition law. Conclusion. • National differences will continue - but some issues will be European/Globalized. • More strategic in alliances and new institutional allegiances - primary focuses. • But firms are still risk adverse and slow to change political behaviour. Hence, duality of approach. • In times of recession will reduce political affairs and look to trusted/low cost routes.
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