Lobbyism is a central component in the European Union (EU). It is not only important in the process of developing new legislation but also contributes to the legitimacy needed for the EU as a political system. Unfortunately, lobbyism may also have a negative impact on the democratic legitimacy if not regulated properly. In 2011 the Commission and the Parliament launched a joined voluntary Transparency Register that should provide more transparency on lobbying. The voluntary nature of the register caused an ongoing public debate on whether a voluntary- or a mandatory approach would result in most transparency. Everybody agrees on the need for a more transparent process but there is strong disagreement on how this is achieved. This master thesis explores how the different positions on regulating lobbyism in the EU are expressed in the public debate and their implications on the democratic legitimacy of the EU. With Norman Fairclough’s model of discourse analysis and by introducing selected terms from Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory, it investigates how the different positions are expressed through language. Discourse analysis is used as an academic framework and tool to illuminate how the different discourses try to define the concepts which exist in relation to the regulation of lobbyism. The signifiers that these discourses both try to frame and define are referred to as floating signifiers and are the cause of the existing struggle. This study aims to explain how the different positions will affect the democratic legitimacy of the EU. The understanding and approach to the concepts of legitimacy is inspired by Jürgen Habermas’ and David Beethams’ criteria for legitimacy. Lobbyism is necessary to ensure democratic legitimacy within the political system of the EU, however, if lobbyism is not regulated or transparent there may be a misrepresentation or bias towards certain interests which can have a negative impact on the democratic legitimacy of the EU. This makes the regulation of lobbying within the EU a complex and unresolved matter.
|Educations||MSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||77|