11. Regulating EU lobbying: in whose interest?

Adriana Bunea (2019) Journal of European Public Policy. 26(11): 1579-1599.

Designing a regime regulating supranational lobbying is a contentious topic in the EU interinstitutional dialogue. Recently, the Commission drafted a proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on a Mandatory Transparency Register, and during this formulation process it consulted broadly with stakeholders. A key question is to which stakeholders has the Commission aligned itself with when designing this proposal? I argue the Commission acted as a legitimacy maximizer aiming to bolster its leverage in interinstitutional negotiations. To enhance input legitimacy, it had to build a reputation for being a responsive and representative policy initiator. To enhance output legitimacy, it needed a reputation for being a competent regulator. The analyses show the Commission prioritized input over output legitimacy and building a reputation for regulating lobbying in line with preferences of stakeholders representing the public interest. In politicized contexts, the Commission trades long-standing policy networks for a realignment with stakeholders that serve its legitimacy needs.