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Politicizing the EU? NGO mobilization across the polity, policy field and political groups in the European Parliament

Katsaitis, AK; (2016) Politicizing the EU? NGO mobilization across the polity, policy field and political groups in the European Parliament. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Research on public interest group mobilization in the European Parliament (EP) draws from work on business lobbying, framing them as actors who supply expertise for influence. This simplifies public interest groups by discounting their role as mediators that link the public and the Institution through politicization. Moreover, this downplays the parliament’s need to politicize its activity as a pre-requisite for maintaining its legitimacy, and therefore preserving its authority. As a result, substantial questions on democratic representation and interest group mobilization remain unanswered. This thesis employs a legitimacy frame that blends research on interest groups and politicization to examine the patterns of public interest group mobilization through three distinct channels: the polity, the policy field and the political group. By doing so, it addresses three distinct literatures across respective chapters: multi-level governance, the nature of the policy good, and political group cohesion. The project uses mixed methods, it draws from an analysis of the entire population of accredited NGOs within the parliament between 2014-2015, a comprehensive survey of interest groups collected over a period of 18 months, and 25 elite interviews with policy-makers and interest group representatives in Brussels. The findings show that the EP perceives itself as a transnational actor instigating the mobilization of EU and international NGOs in confined clusters of distributive policy fields. Substantially, MEPs are the central driving force of the politicization observed thus supporting integration by stealth. As such, the ability of the politicization in place to legitimize and retain the parliament’s authority in the long-term is questioned. The thesis makes brief policy recommendations for an alternative politicization strategy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Politicizing the EU? NGO mobilization across the polity, policy field and political groups in the European Parliament
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: NGOs, European Parliament, Lobbying, Politicization, EU Politics
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522290
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