By Carolyn Rowe (auth.)
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Additional resources for Regional Representations in the EU: Between Diplomacy and Interest Mediation
The Commission needs expertise and information in order to fulfill its regulatory role (Coen, 2007). As a result, in recent years, the volume and diversity of interests represented in Brussels has grown exponentially (Greenwood, 2003; Mazey and Richardson, 2003). Understanding the nature of lobbying and in turn, using EU lobbying as a “benchmark” in the assessment of the activities of regional offices is complicated further by the sheer complexity of representative forms of interest groups and interest mediation in the European sphere.
Indeed, failure to join these fluid interest mediation arenas, concentrating instead on the five more traditional forms of interest representation listed above, may even prove a more risky strategy; these kinds of membership organisation could well prove too slow for the groups’ representation needs, on account of their “cumbersome consensus-building processes” (Mazey and Richardson 2001a: 77). Such ad hoc coalitions are established as a result of links forged at the Brussels level. The maintenance of a Brussels presence offers immediate access to these groupings, which are founded upon an ability to act quickly and flexibly and allow for a dynamic response as the EU’s policy agenda develops.
European integration has also provided new opportunities for non-state actors to escape national filters of interest aggregation, and in doing so, has provided them with additional political power (Egeberg, 2005). The creation of a European decision-making system has indeed opened up multiple opportunities for various means of regional interest intermediation, allowing regions to access additional resources independent of central state control (Kohler-Koch, 1999). But to what extent is regional lobbying simply mimicking the upstream policy engagement of corporate and private interests in the EU?