Title: Lobbying by Irish Associations on EU Legislation: Findings from a Survey (PDF 3.7MB)

Author(s): Andreas Dür & Gemma Mateo

Paper number and date: WP 09-11, May 2009

Abstract: This document provides a summary of the results of a survey of Irish associations that was carried out between October 2008 and March 2009. For the survey, we contacted a total of 400 associations asking them to fill in a questionnaire. The response rate was 40.75 percent (163 responses). Among the main findings are:

Finding 1: Irish associations engage in substantial legislative lobbying, also at the EU level:

  1. 94 percent of our respondents do at least some legislative lobbying;

  2. 77 percent engage in at least some lobbying on EU legislation;

  3. 16 percent of those that do some lobbying lobby more on EU than on Irish legislation, another 23 percent give equal importance to EU and Irish legislation.

Finding 2: Irish associations’ lobbying activity reflects the distribution of competences between the European and the national level of decision-making. Associations that are active in policy fields in which the EU has most competences (agriculture, trade, etc.) engage in more EU lobbying than other associations.

Finding 3: For all associations, inside tactics (direct contacts with decision-makers) are more important than outside ones (demonstrations, press releases, etc.), both at the national and the EU level. There is no indication, however, that outside tactics are even less useful at the European than at the national level.

Finding 4: NGOs engage in more outside lobbying than business or professional associations, with respect to both national and EU legislation:

  1. they are more concerned with a “mentality change” among the public;

  2. they use more frequently lobbying tactics such as demonstrations and press conferences;

  3. they also consider outside tactics more useful;

  4. finally, they give the highest weight to the ability to mobilise the public as a resource.

Finding 5: Irish associations have surprisingly good access to even the highest political levels in Ireland and the EU, but there is variation across types of groups in the preferred interlocutor:

  1. 71 percent of business associations had at least twice contact with the top level of government in Ireland over the last two years;

  2. NGOs are more likely to contact parliamentarians, both at the EU level and in Ireland. In fact, no fewer than 81 percent of NGO respondents had contact with members of the European Parliament over the last two years.

Finding 6: Professional associations seem to have least good access to decisionmakers; but contrary to the existing literature there is no indication that their relatively weak EU level lobbying is a result of their strength at the national level.

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