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Procedural or substantive legitimacy: how to reconciliate deliberative quality and interest representation

Wilhelm Lehmann

Both the European Commission and the European Parliament have recently made renewed efforts to bring their consultation mechanisms and their treatment of special interest groups more in line with the rapid evolution of professional lobbying at the European level. This paper strives to clarify the theoretical foundations of such efforts by comparing the merits of deliberative communication vs. rational choice models for an assessment of the Parliament's political strategy. Based on an internal inquiry with a small sample of MEPs and officials it proposes a tentative categorisation of lobbying tactics and the risks and benefits attached to them for the legislator. In particular, categories of transparency-enhancing measures adopted by Parliament and the intentions they represent are tested (1) for the extent to which they can contribute to more efficient policy-making and (2) for their usefulness as confidence-building instruments to enhance legitimacy with citizens.

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