Should Lobbying be Regulated in the EU?
AbstractChapter 2 asked how power centralization in the European Union (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. Thus, a political system that centralizes power lowers the cost of lobbying and therefore leads to a more economically harmful redistribution, as reflected in the annual EU budget. Here, for example, the two main redistribution policies (structural funds and the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP), consume on their own three-quarters of the total annual EU budget. Thus, if the EU is to achieve its strategic goal, a strong cure is needed to reduce economically harmful redistribution and encourage more free trade. One simple cure could, for example, be to strengthen the decision-making power of the Parliament at the expense of the Commission. In this way, power would be spread out between the democratically elected members of the Parliament rather than being concentrated among a few bureaucrats.
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