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Germany, Europe, and the Politics of Constraint$
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Kenneth Dyson and Klaus Goetz

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262955

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262955.001.0001

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Interest Groups: Opportunity Structures and Governance Capacity

Interest Groups: Opportunity Structures and Governance Capacity

(p.147) 8 Interest Groups: Opportunity Structures and Governance Capacity
Germany, Europe, and the Politics of Constraint

Rainer Eising

British Academy

This chapter looks at continuity and change among German interest groups and patterns of interest intermediation in the context of European integration. In other words, it analyses the Europeanization of interest intermediation. While several analysts regard the degree of fit between the EU and the German mode of interest intermediation as a decisive influence on the responses of these groups to European integration, it is argued that it is mainly organizational capacities that explain interest group strategies in the EU multi-level system. The argument is tested in the following steps. First, the chapter provides an overview of the EU and the German systems of interest groups, of the prevalent modes of interest intermediation, and of associational self-regulation at both levels. Based on survey data of German, British, French, and EU business associations, as well as large firms, the general strategies of German interest groups in the EU are outlined. Next, a cluster analysis serves to distinguish five types of interest groups according to their access to political institutions, their access to information from these institutions, and their political activities during the policy cycle: niche organizations, occasional (national) players, (national) traditionalists, EU players, and multilevel players. The results confirm the implications of the ‘capacity’ hypothesis: in general, the changes in the institutional opportunity structure have not led to a major reshuffling of the domestic power structure or to a transformation of the weakly corporatist mode of interest intermediation in Germany.

Keywords:   German interest groups, interest intermediation, European integration, multi-level system, domestic power structure

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