What motivates interest groups to engage with European Union (EU) agencies? Authors have recently looked into the interaction between interest groups and these European regulators. This article sets out to discover new explanations for interest group behaviour and to add mechanisms to established explanatory factors by looking at this novel context for interest group literature. It employs an in-depth qualitative study using interviews with high-level interest group representatives that interact with the European Food Safety Authority. A novel finding is that interest groups, specifically business actors, are motivated by preventing reputational threats to the agency. This article, therefore, extends insights from bureaucratic reputation literature to interest group scholarship. Furthermore, interest groups are motivated by factors found in interest group literature such as influence on regulatory policy, gaining access to venues and appeasing their members. This article aids future research efforts in unravelling why interest groups engage with EU regulatory agencies.

European Union, regulation, agency, interest group, lobbying, reputation
dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41309-020-00110-z, hdl.handle.net/1765/133938
Interest Groups & Advocacy
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Joosen, M.C. (2021). Persuading the independent. Interest Groups & Advocacy, 1–28. doi:10.1057/s41309-020-00110-z