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Polish Business Interest Associations as a Lobbying Force at the National and EU Level

Urszula Kurczewska

This paper examines the changing role of Polish business interest associations (BIAs) at the national and EU level of policy making since Poland's accession to the EU.The study provides the first extensive insight into the development, the extent, the strategy, tactics and their influence as a lobbying force. I started by characterizingPolish BIAs and domestic political context within which they operate. We can assume that Polish BIAs differ from business organizations in old member statesregarding their recourses, relations with institutions and other stakeholders, political behavior, etc. They have been determined by weak traditions of associability andcivil society, lack of political culture traditions, different values and communist heritage. The process of European integration affects the overall environment in whichthese interest groups operate. They must undergo learning processes to understand European policymaking and how to represent of their interests at the EU level. Thecrucial questions in this context are whether Polish BIAs have adapted to the European challenge, how they are represented at the European level, what problems theyface, what successes they have scored? The analysis illustrates the effect of EU accession on a domestic interest intermediation pattern in a new member state. Thepaper concludes with some speculation about the likely future development of Polish BIAs and what this might mean for democracy in Poland.

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