Greenwood, Justin. (1999) “Are EU Business Associations Governable?”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)
All accounts of European integration, to varying degrees, acknowledge the contribution made by business interests to the functioning of the EU political system. Formal groups remain the largest among a number of organisational sectors of EU business interest representation. These groups vary widely in their governability-defined as the ability of an association to unify its members interests and to make them comply with its goals-and consequently in their ability to contribute to European integration. These differences are attributed to the characteristics of: the sector concerned, and its external environment; incentives upon particular actors to behave in particular ways; the representative organisation concerned and the strategies it pursues; and the political environment in which associations operate. Whilst institutional accounts of European integration have rightly stressed the importance of institutions for group development, they have often focused upon positive influences. Here, the lack of institutional patronage capacity of the EU institutions is cited as being responsible for a number of governability problems facing a broad range of EU business interest associations, particularly in the relationship between associations and their members. Drawing upon interviews undertaken with fifty EU business associations in autumn 1998, together with deductive analysis inspired by the comparative Organization of Business Interests project undertaken a decade earlier, the article assesses the extent to which the range of self improvement programmes undertaken by the groups themselves can make a difference to their own governability in the light of institutional and other constraints.
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