Actors of the common interest? The Brussels offices of the regions.
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GREENWOOD, J., 2011. Actors of the common interest? The Brussels offices of the regions. Journal of European Integration, 33 (4), pp. 437-451.
The absence of a formal place in representative democracy at EU level casts sub-national authorities more as actors of EU participatory democracy. Where they have specific interests to pursue their Brussels offices act in the same way as ‘lobbyists’, but public authorities are also capable of acting on broader interest sets. This analysis is geared to understanding variation in the extent to which the diversely constituted Brussels offices of the regions can act on a broad spectrum of civil society interests, and thus have potential as actors of European integration in connecting civil society with EU institutions. Differences in the orientation of offices towards either highly defined or broad agendas can be conceived in qualified principal-agent terms, in which the autonomy of offices to develop activities is the critical explanatory factor. This autonomy can be derived more from the structure of principals and from degrees of purpose they have than from asymmetries of power between principals and agents, which in turn can be drawn from typologies of degrees of devolved authority present in different member states. It predicts that territorial offices from member states with medium degrees of devolved authority have the greatest potential to act on a broad range of civil society oriented interests.