The Politics of Persuasion

The Politics of Persuasion

Should Lobbying be Regulated in the EU?

Urs S. Brandt and Gert T. Svendsen

The EU is at a crossroads. Should it choose the path towards protectionism or the path towards free trade? This book convincingly argues that lobbying regulation will be a decisive first step towards fulfilling the European dream of free trade, in accordance with the original purpose of the Treaty of Rome. Without the regulation of lobbyists to try and prevent undue political persuasion, there is a greater risk of abuse in the form of corruption, subsidies and trade barriers, which will come at the expense of consumers, tax payers and competitiveness.

Chapter 8: Should lobbying be regulated in the EU?

Urs S. Brandt and Gert T. Svendsen

Subjects: economics and finance, public choice theory, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public choice, regulation and governance


As originally stated by Lukes (1974), hidden and non-observable political activities also affect political outcome. Lobbying is such an activity. Thus, the overall research aim in this book was to answer the question of whether lobbying should be regulated or not in the European Union (EU). The short answer is yes. First we summarize the findings from each chapter before suggesting a best-practice solution for future regulation of lobbying in the EU. Chapter 2 asked how power centralization in the EU may affect lobbying and economic growth. It was argued that the original ‘European Dream’ of becoming the world’s leading economy faces one fundamental barrier to the fulfilment of this dream, namely the fact that power is centralized in the hands of the European Commission (the bureaucracy) rather than the European Parliament (with the directly elected members). The basic idea was that when only a few political decision-makers hold most of the power, an interest group has to lobby in only one place, as opposed to a situation in which power is distributed between many individuals in several institutions such as the Parliament and the government, forcing interest groups to lobby in many different places.

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