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Politics in the European Union

Politics in the European Union (5th edn)

Simon Bulmer, Owen Parker, Ian Bache, Stephen George, and Charlotte Burns
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date: 03 June 2023

p. 31617. Organized Interestslocked

p. 31617. Organized Interestslocked

  • Simon Bulmer, Simon BulmerProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Owen Parker, Owen ParkerLecturer in European Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Ian Bache, Ian BacheProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Stephen GeorgeStephen GeorgeEmeritus Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  •  and Charlotte BurnsCharlotte BurnsProfessor, University of Sheffield


This chapter focuses on the so-called organized interests, whose interaction with the formal European Union (EU) institutions is a central component of the EU’s decision-making process. The term ‘interest group’ refers to a range of organizations outside of the formal institutions that seek to influence decision making. They provide a link between state actors and the rest of society, also known as ‘civil society’. The chapter first considers the general growth of interest group activity at the European level before discussing the types of group that try to influence EU policy making and the forms of representation open to interests. It then explores the strategies and tactics that interest groups use to try to influence the different institutions. Finally, it analyses the issue of regulating interest group access to the EU institutions.

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