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Interest Representation in the EU



The course ‘Interest representation in the EU ’will introduce students with the world of lobbying and interest-representation in the EU, both in terms of knowledge about the scientific literature and the practise of lobbying and public-affairs management. During the course, students are required to give their opinion on questions related to interest-representation and the democratic-deficit debate. At the end of the course, the students will be able to give their professional advice on public-affairs matters. Attention will be given to identifying policy-making processes, key stakeholders and policy-documents.

Course objectives

This course aims to offer students insights on lobbying and interest-representation in the EU. It will focus on the following matters:

  • Decision-making processes, EU policy-making and the (vice-versa) effect on organisations such as businesses, ngo’s and EU associations;

  • Public-Affairs management. Students will have to write their own lobbying-strategy.

Mode of instruction

Total course load: the course will require 140 hours. The study load consists of:

  • 20 hours for attending classes;

  • 50 hours for studying the literature

  • 70 hours for making the assignments.

Assessment method

The final grade will be based on four elements. In the first part of the course, students will have to make two group assignments (one written assignment and one presentation). In the second part of the course, students will write a strategy-document for their lobby-organisation. Students are expected to make an active contribution to the discussion about the literature. Every week one or two students will have to give his or her opinion about the required literature. The assignment-descriptions will be provided on blackboard.


  • Group assignment 30%

  • Group presentation 20%

  • Strategy paper 40%

  • Participation to the discussions 10%




All articles will be available on Blackboard. The assignment-descriptions will also be provided on Blackboard.

Reading list

  1. Introduction – No literature
    1. Theories on interest representation in the EU
  • Reader chapter 1

  • Beyers, J., R. Eising and W. Maloney (2008) ‘Researching Interest Group Politics in Europe and Elsewhere: Much We Study, Little We Know?’, West European Politics, Vol. 31, No. 6, pp. 1103-28.

  • Eising, R. (2006) ‘Interest Groups and the European Union’ in: M. Cini European Union Politics. Second Edition (Oxford: Oxford UP), pp. 202-21.

  1. EU lobbying and political strategies
  • Reader chapter 2

  • Bouwen, P. (2002), ‘Corporate lobbying in the European Union: the logic of access’ in: Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 9, No.3, pp. 365-390.

  • Schendelen, R. van (2005), ‘Managing Government Relations in the European Union’, in: Harris, Ph. and C.S. Fleisher ed., The Handbook of Public Affairs (London: Sage publications), pp.201-213.

  1. Business Interests
  • Reader chapter 3

  • Titley, S. (2005), ‘The rise of the NGO in the EU’, in: Harris, Ph. and C.S. Fleisher ed., The Handbook of Public Affairs (London: Sage publications), pp.215-223.

  • Vining, A.R., D.M. Shapiro and B. Borges (2005), ‘Building the firm’s political (lobbying) strategy’, in: Journal of Public Affairs, Vol. 5, pp.150-175.

  1. Lobbying vs. democracy
  • Reader chapter 4 and 5

  • Kohler Koch, B. (2007), ‘The organization of interests and democracy in the European Union’, in: Kohler Koch, B. and B. Rittberger ed., Debating democratic legitimacy of the European Union (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers), pp. 255-271.

  1. Group presentations – No required reading

  2. Guest Lecture

  3. Group presentations – No required reading

  4. Towards a good strategy

  • Spencer, T. (2005), ‘The external environment of public affairs in the European Union and United Kigdom’, in: Harris, Ph. and C.S. Fleisher ed., The Handbook of Public Affairs (London: Sage publications), pp.71-75.

  • Showalter, A. and C.S. Fleisher (2005), ‘The tools and techniques of Public Affairs’, in: Harris, Ph. and C.S. Fleisher ed., The Handbook of Public Affairs (London: Sage publications), pp.109-122

  1. The essence of communication
  • Guéguen, D. (2007), European lobbying (Europolitics: Brussels).
  1. Guest Lecture

  2. Conclusions and debate


Via uSis.

Contact information

Mieke van Westing
Mieke van Westing is Policy adviser on Pensions at the Dutch Association of Insurers, which is the trade association of private insurance companies in the Netherlands. She works for Leiden University since 2007.