The Democratic Value of Lobby Influence in the European Union Policy Process - The case of pharmaceutical companies and the amendment of Directive 2001/83/EC
Abstract: This thesis examines the extent to which lobbyists bring democratic value to the policy-formulation and decision-making stages of the EU policy process. It is examined through a single case study of the amendment of Directive 2001/83/EC. By adopting an actor-centered institutionalism perspective and through theoretical discussion on Robert Keohane, Fritz Scharpf and Pieter Bouwen, this thesis builds on the understanding of democracy as an institutional arrangement. It thus investigates lobbyists and the resources that constitute lobby influence, as a product of the demand by the EU institutions. The resources are defined as citizen support and economic power. The democratic value of lobby influence is related to the standard of representativeness, meaning that the lobbyists who influence the most in the specific parts of the policy process have to represent a broad array of citizens and societal actors. If influence is biased in favour of lobbyists with economic power as opposed to lobbyists with citizen support, then lobbyists do not bring democratic value to the EU policy process. By looking into empirical data the lobbyists exerting most influence are found and their interests located. Influence is measured through the preference attainment method and a coding of interests. The empirical data derives from online public consultations regarding the case as well as from a comparison of the preliminary consultation draft, the policy proposal and the final legislative act. The empirical analysis indicates that the lobbyists gaining most influence are the ones representing associations. Since it is associations with citizen support who exert most influence as opposed to individual companies with economic power, it is concluded that the lobbyists exerting most influence have representativeness. As representativeness reflects democratic value, the lobbyists influencing have democratic value. Lastly since all three EU institutions favoured trading influence with citizen support as opposed to economic power, it is concluded that lobbyists to a very large extent bring democratic value to the EU policy process.
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