Shooting where the ducks are: The impact of the treaty of Lisbon on the behaviour of organised interests

Kasper Ernest & Per Justesen Gammelgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


With the Treaty of Lisbon, the legislative powers of the European Parliament were fur-ther strengthened to reduce the perceived democratic deficit of the European Union. Specifically, the former co-decision was renamed the ordinary legislative procedure and extended to further policy areas. Taking point of departure in the extension of the ordi-nary legislative procedure, this thesis analyses the extent to which the shift in applicable legislative procedures influence the behaviour of organised interests. To analyse the changes, the thesis builds on an exchange perspective, where lobbyism is seen as an ex-change with European institutions seeking to obtain information from organised inter-ests and organised interests seeking political influence. Empirically, the findings indicate that the behaviour of organised within the Common Commercial Policy and the Com-mon Fisheries policy has fundamentally changed in response to the shift to the ordinary legislative procedure in these areas. Specifically, organised interests had changed the lob-bying strategies in response to the increased legislative powers of the European Parlia-ment with respect to four measurable parameters; who lobbies; why lobby; whom to lobby; and how to lobby. In contrast, the findings suggest that the behaviour of organ-ised interests within the EU’s environmental policy and internal market policy remained largely unchanged on these dimensions. This was in line with the expectation of no change, as the ordinary legislative procedure had applied to these policy areas before Lis-bon. Consequently, the findings indeed suggest that the behaviour of organised interests fundamentally changes in response to the shifts in the applicable legislative procedure. Further findings were identified with respect to learning processes, changes in the rela-tionships between organised interests and the other European institutions and differing importance of nationality within the different policy areas. Theoretically, the findings of the thesis suggest that rational choice approaches provide an excellent lens to understand the behaviour of organised interests. Furthermore, the findings indicate mixed effects on democratic legitimacy that in turn was a raison d'etre of the Lisbon Treaty.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages135