Are interest groups contributing to the democratic functioning of the European Union?
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If Raymond Aron recalls the words of "pollution of democracy" to describe the action of interest groups, one would think it is instead a way to overcome the deficiencies or excesses of the political class. Indeed, by definition, an interest group tries to exert power and influence policymakers.
It differs from a party since its ultimate goal is not representation, but rather the promotion and defense of its own interests. The interest group is a group of people who organize action to inform, influence and contribute to the achievement of a decision or otherwise prevent it.
By definition, the interest group thus appears rather as an element of democratic pluralism, and the functioning of European democracy is based on the direct participation of European citizens. The influence of interest groups on European democracy, invokes a question about whether they would be a source of legitimacy other than that expressed by universal suffrage elections for MEPs, which is another marker of European democracy. But at the same time, given the exponential rise in European interest groups, one wonders if the Europe being created is not primarily in the interests of the afore mentioned Europeans.
Currently, there would be an estimated 3000 interest groups that operate with European institutions. However, the development of these groups across the EU is a recent phenomenon. Indeed, it is from the Single European Act of 1986, which reaffirms the internal market and the expansion of Community competence for the EU to cope with the confrontation of interests increasingly numerous and contradictory organized at the European level.
Tags: Interest groups; element of democratic pluralism; influence of interest groups on European democracy; exponential rise in interest groups;