Tracing a pathway to success: How competing interest groups influenced the 2013 EU Common Fisheries Policy reform

Author(s): Orach, K., Schlüter, M., Österblom, H.
In: Environmental Science & Policy Volume 76, October 2017, Pages 90-102
Year: 2017
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Marine
Full reference: Orach, K., Schlüter, M., Österblom, H. 2017. Tracing a pathway to success: How competing interest groups influenced the 2013 EU Common Fisheries Policy reform. Environmental Science & Policy Volume 76, October 2017, Pages 90-102

Summary

Adaptation of environmental policies to often unexpected crises is an important function of sustainable governance arrangements. However the relationship between environmental change and policy is complicated. Much research has focused on understanding institutional dynamics or the role of specific participants in the policy process. This paper draws attention to interest groups and the mechanism through which they influence policy change. Existing research offers conflicting evidence in regards to the different ways in which interest groups may affect change. This paper provides an in-depth study of the 2013 European Union Common Fisheries Policy reform − a policy change characterized by active interest group participation. It traces the activity of interest group coalitions to understand how they achieved influence under a changing policy context. The study involves interviews with interest group representatives, policy experts and decision-makers, document analysis of interest group statements and EU legislative documents. Findings identify the important role of coalition-building and informational lobbying for environmental interest group success in exploiting favorable sociopolitical conditions and influencing reform outcomes. An insight on interest group influence and its conditions contributes to our understanding of the complex dynamics of the environmental policy process as well as its implications for policy adaptation to environmental change.

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