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Countering bias? The EU Commission’s consultation with interest groups

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The EU Commission regularly consults with external actors when preparing policy proposals. This paper investigates possible bias in the voices the Commission listens to across all policy areas and consultation instruments. We map the full range of consultation instruments used by the Commission and analyse variation in group representation across types of consultations and policy areas. Our analysis draws on a dataset of more than 350 major Commission proposals between 2011 and 2016. We find that the Commission has established a consultation regime with the widespread use of standard consultation instruments, including open online consultations, stakeholder conferences and consultation in closed fora. The range of consulted actors depends on both consultation instruments and policy types. Open online-consultations are most inclusive. Our findings indicate that the Commission may be able to counteract the influence of business by selecting the most appropriate format for consultation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Pages (from-to)469-488
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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