I have in this master’s thesis examined the participation of interest groups in the European Union (EU). In the EU, business interests have often been argued to have a dominant role compared to other types of interest. I have therefore examined how three different types of interest groups, business, public, and management and labour groups, participate in the European Union.
The case examined is the expert groups working under the European Commission. These are investigated through a quantitative analysis based upon information on the expert group drawn from the Commission’s official registry of expert groups.
In addition, previous research on both interest- and expert groups has indicated that certain institutional factors can affect the likelihood of different actors being present. Through linear regression I therefore examine if the policy cycle, the age of the policy field, the number of staff in a DG and the policy domain can affect the likelihood of interest groups being present in the expert groups.
The thesis concludes that business interests have a dominant position in the expert groups compared to other types of interests. Furthermore, the institutional factors appear to be suitable for predicting the presence of business interest, but less so on the remaining two categories. In addition, the diversity and complexity of interest group activity on the EU-level makes it challenging to generalise these findings directly to other channels and institutions in the EU-system. Finally, it is argued that the different patterns uncovered in this thesis could be a valuable input to the ongoing debate on the EUs legitimacy.