IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Lobbying the European Commission: Open or secret?

Listed author(s):
  • Raj Chari


    (Political Science, Trinity College Dublin and IMDEA Social Sciences)

  • Daniel Hillebrand O'Donovan

    (Department Trinity College Dublin)

Registered author(s):

    Little transparency in the EU black‐box of policy making means that there is limited citizen knowledge of which interest groups are operating in Brussels, what they seek to influence, how much resources they put into lobbying and the impact this has had on EU’s already large democratic deficit. As such, mass publics have held few tools to better understand, and get involved in changing, EU politics. In order to combat this problem, observers have considered the need to pursue 'sunshine' laws, a significant one being the regulation of lobbying. With this in mind, this paper asks: what has the Commission done with regard to regulating lobbyists and how does this compare from an international perspective; what insights can be gained about how the Commission register has evolved and the actors involved in policy making; and what lessons can be learned from this experience and is it really an antidote for the lack of genuine popular involvement in EU policy making? To answer these questions, there are three main sections. The first examines what is meant by the term 'lobbying regulation' and, from a comparative international perspective, it analyzes the Commission's attempts to increase transparency through its establishment of its 'voluntary' register in June 2008. The second considers the evolution of the register since its establishment, offering a novel, yet simple, analysis of the register's statistics between June 2008 and October 2010, focusing on registrations by consultancies, law firms, in‐house corporate lobbies, NGOs and others. It also considers registration dynamics in one of the most significant and globalized sectors in the economy, namely the automobile sector. The third section closes with lessons to be learned from a comparative perspective and ponders the structural changes that may be considered by the Commission in order to establish genuine popular involvement in EU policy making.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2011-11.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 30 Jun 2011
    Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2011-11
    Note: This paper is included in the IMDEA Social Sciences Working Paper Series through the Institute's Visiting Researchers Programme
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Veláquez 76, 28001 Madrid

    Phone: +34917816570
    Fax: +34916766052
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2011-11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (IMDEA RePEc Maintainer)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.