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Anne Rasmussen, "Interest group-party interaction in EU politics," Party Politics, 18 (January, 2012), 81-98. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue1/ ]

First paragraph:
The European Union has brought about important changes in representation. Non-partisan channels of representation have been strengthened by the Commission's attempts to promote the representation of civil society and interest associations. In contrast, national parties have a hard time getting heard, as they do not enjoy the same type of access to the EU level as they have traditionally had in many member states (see, e.g., Gaffney, 1996; Kritzinger et al., 2007; Mair, 2006). Some even go as far as to link the EU's legitimacy problem to these shifts in representation (Andersen and Eliassen, 1995: 255). However, even though it is widely acknowledged that the EU affects representation, we have surprisingly few studies of how the key actors of representation, i.e. interest groups and parties, have adapted to these new circumstances. Some europeanization studies focusing on interest groups but also to some extent on parties have emerged (Eising 2006; Mair 2000; Ladrech 2002; Pogunkte et al. 2007). However, scholars have tended to examine them in isolation from each other just as they have done in the general literature on parties and interest groups (Allern, 2010; Allern and Bale, this issue).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. The interest group populations
Table 2. Importance of different partisan actors to influence domestic and EU policy (per cent)
Table 3. Relative importance of national parties as regards influence on domestic and EU policy (per cent)
Table 4. Importance of MPs from government and opposition to influence EU policy (per cent)
Table 5. Importance of different actors to influence EU policy (per cent)
Table 6. Summary statistics
Table 7. Results from ordered logistic regression models of importance attached to national political parties when it comes to influencing EU policy
Figure 1. Partisan collaboration and importance attached to national political parties to influence EU policy (predicted probabilities

Last Paragraph:
(first paragraph of conclusions) The results draw a less pessimistic picture of how the EU impacts on existing modes of representation than the one presented by some authors concerned about the EU's legitimacy problems. Instead of focusing on how parties and interest groups have adapted individually, I examine whether the EU has any effect on their relationship to each other. This is first done by looking at whether there are any differences between EU and domestic policy in the extent to which interest groups rely on national parties in the policy processes. Findings from British, Danish and Dutch surveys from a project on interest group-party relations show very clearly that, even though interest groups attach lower importance to national parties in EU as opposed to domestic policy, the national parties are by no means irrelevant. Even if the EU has strengthened the ability of interest groups to influence policy at the expense of political parties, interest groups still attach high importance to the national parties. In fact, almost half the respondents rank national parties as equally important in EU and domestic policy, and even within EU policy national parties are not given a lower priority than parties and politicians at the EU level. There is thus no evidence that direct interest group influence has replaced reliance on national parties in these policymaking processes.

Last updated December 2011