EU Common Fisheries Policy

Interest groups as links between social-ecological and policy dynamics.

The project seeks to explore the role of interest groups (non-governmental, organized actors which seek to influence policy) in co-evolution between social-ecological change and policy. Groups pursuing public and private interests (e.g. environmental, industry or business) are common participants of environmental policy. Research emphasizes interest group role in both advocating for sustainable policy change and maintaining unsustainable lock-ins. At the same time, interest groups can be viewed as a ‘link’ between the issue and policy – as their members are often situated ‘closest’ to the social-ecological change. They directly perceive the effects of such changes and often possess expert knowledge and policy-relevant information.

In this project we are first and foremost interested in how interest groups manage to influence policy and how their informational lobbying activity influences policy response to social-ecological change. We explore these questions in the case of 2013 EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform, tracing the process of interest group influence and analyzing their contribution to social and ecological information flows during the reform. We employ process tracing as well as preference attainment, document analysis and semi-structured interviews to obtain and analyze empirical data from the CFP case.

Keywords: Common Fisheries Policy | adaptivity | co-evolution | interest group| EU
People: Kirill Orach in collaboration with Maja Schlüter and Henrik Österblom
Methods: Process-tracing, preference attainment, document analysis, semi-structured interviews
Funding: ERC