European Union Politics (2015) 16(2): 281-299.
What explains interest groups’ position alignments in the European Commission’s open consultations? The article argues that formal membership ties facilitate organisational coordination and the creation of lobbying coalitions among interest groups, which in turn affects their position alignments. This argument is supported by empirical evidence from five environmental consultations. Sharing a formal membership tie within an overarching organisational structure has a stronger effect on position alignment than the fact of representing the same type of interest or having the same organisational form. Coordinated, coalition-based lobbying accounts to a significant extent for stakeholders’ position alignments in the EU open consultations. The ‘social’ embeddedness of lobbying has a direct effect on the advocacy strategies interest groups decide to employ during the early stages of EU policymaking.