Workshop: Towards a History of Corporate Lobbying in the EU
On December 8, the workshop 'Towards a History of Corporate Lobbying in the EU' will take place. This interdisciplinary workshop raises the question what historians have to contribute to the study of corporate lobbying in the EU and what other disciplines have to teach them.
Raising new questions
In recent years, journalists, NGOs and politicians have sounded the alarm about the alleged ‘corporate capture’ of the EU. Their warnings about the political influence that corporations exercise on EU decision making echo historical criticisms of the European Coal and Steel Community as a legalised cartel and the European Economic Community as a project dominated by the interests of big business. Yet, while historians have studied the organised representation of business interests in Brussels, the roles of corporate lobbies in EEC policies and politics remain strikingly understudied in EU historiography.
The study of corporate lobbying
This interdisciplinary workshop raises the question what historians have to contribute to the study of corporate lobbying in the EU and what other disciplines have to teach them. Due to their informal character, corporate lobbies seldom leave a paper trail, which presents historians and other researchers with a source problem. The premise of this workshop is that this lack of a paper trail should not be considered an unsurmountable methodological challenge, but rather a red flag that should raise questions about the influence that corporations have exercised on European integration.
Explore different questions
Bringing together political scientists, journalists and other experts, the aim of the workshop is to explore different questions, methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives on corporate lobbying which can help them do so. The two related questions that will be central in this workshop are:
- What could historical approaches contribute to the study of lobbying in the EU?
- What do other disciplines have to teach historians about the study of lobbying in the EU?