nl en

Researching Lobbying in the EU


N.B. Course descriptions are subject to change

Admission requirements

Admission to the Master International Relations, track European Union Studies.


Currently half to three quarters of legislation that applies on the national level originates in Brussels. Legislation that can have vast consequences (e.g. costs) for businesses, public organisations and consumers alike. This has attracted a wide variety of stakeholders to influence EU decision-making: there are approximately 20.000 EU lobbyists working for trade associations, companies, NGOs and other organizations, indicating that lobbying is an accepted and widespread part of the EU system. In comparison: there are approximately 50.000 civil servants working for these institutions.
In this course you will be made familiar with the practice of lobbying the EU, and the small but active field of academic research into lobbying in the EU. Academic research into EU lobby is a fairly recent field of study, in which researchers are continually exploring new ways to assess lobby success and other aspects of lobbying, with the information available.
First, we will discuss the main aspects of lobby in the EU; the information demands of the three institutions, the main lobby groups (businesses, NGOs and Member States) and the instruments they use to influence policy-making. To give practical insight in the process, we will explore one dossier from its conception in the European Commission, through to the decision-making on it in the Council of Ministers. Then we will discuss the available information and methods of research into different aspects of lobbying. For their paper, each student will be asked to choose a topic related to the case study dossier to research, and to apply one or more research techniques. These can be existing techniques used in the field of lobby research, or a technique students invent themselves. The goal of the paper will be to compare and critique research methods and contribute to the field of EU lobbying research.

Summary of main topics:

  • Introduction: the arena of EU lobbying

  • Stakeholders in EU lobbying

  • Lobbying strategy, using an existing dossier

  • Research techniques in the field of EU lobbying

Course objectives

This course will provide students with an understanding of the theory and practice of EU lobbying. Students will become acquainted with the arena within which EU lobbying takes place, and with the stakeholders involved. They will learn to explore different techniques of research into the aspects of lobbying, and to critique them.
The course will use a variety of sources (academic articles, policy documents and news articles) and we will work on a real dossier that has recently been subject to EU decision-making. The students will each do a presentation and write a research paper on research techniques in the field of lobbying.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Interactive seminar.

Assessment method

The final mark will be a combination of the following grades obtained during the classes, weighted in the following way:

  • take active part in class discussions (20%);

  • research paper (70%);

  • presentations (10%).

The final paper will only be marked if the student has attended the seminars.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


A student that has failed the course can retake the research paper.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The compulsory literature for weekly readings will be made available before the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable