The Technocracization of Organized Interests in the EU

WP-LPF 6/10

Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text


The paper broadly explores the role of interest groups and research organizations in European policy-making. In particular, the author examines the landscape of interest representation during the earliest stage of policy formulation between the European Commission and relevant policy stakeholders. In order to make wellinformed policy proposals, the Commission consults with numerous organizations. However, many valuable consultations are increasingly limited to a few groups where only those with technical knowledge and expertise are invited to participate. The author argues that such exclusive arenas of decision-making give rise to specific organizational forms, in particular NGO-consultancies, which are more technocratic and professionalized than traditional advocacy groups. She conceptualizes technocracization, therefore, as a set of simultaneous and mutuallyreinforcing institutional changes both in the structure of European interest intermediation and in the organizational convergence of interest groups towards expert-driven research. This technocracization of organized interests is not uncommon in contemporary democracies, yet on the European level, where advocacy groups are weak and the transparency of interest representation is low, such trends intensify the European Union’s democratic deficit. She looks at these organizational changes by tracing the evolution of interest participation in the Commission for the making of European anti-discrimination policies from 1992- 2008. She observes that rights-based groups have slowly transformed their objectives, research capacities, and even identities to resemble NGO-consultants.