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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In making the claim for a unique European business–government relationship this article sets out in the first part of the issue, which is about why firms located to Brussels and how they and EU institutions learned to play a specific lobbying game. In so doing the article describes how the creation of the single market and the concurrent increases in regulatory competencies of the Commission and the increasing fiscal and monetary convergence of member states reduced the ties to home capital lobbying and incentives for individual lobbying of the EU. Having identified what motivated lobbying of the EU and the creation of government affairs offices in Brussels, the first section attempts to explain how best practice and lobbying norms emerged over time—especially as interest group overloading created a more competitive political environment and pressure on EU institutions to manage interest group representation via the creation of an elite pluralist process of fora and consultations. The second part assesses how large firms have organized their political affairs functions and developed increasingly sophisticated government and EU affairs offices in Brussels.

Keywords: business–government relationship, Brussels, EU institutions, regulatory competencies, lobbying norms, interest groups

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