Sabine Saurugger

This article presents conceptual tools to analyse interest representation in the European Union. On the European level, no formal system of representation can be found, but rather a patchwork of representation modes. These modes are influenced by forms of political exchange specific for each country and each political domain, which interact with opportunity structures at the European level. Analysing interest representation in a system of governance, either national, European or international requires taking into account the relations which link interest groups with political and bureaucratic actors at the national level, acknowledging the changes in these relations and to insert all that in a system of governance where actors must find solutions to problems in the management of public policies and not to forget political power games and hierarchies amongst actors. The first part of the article analyses briefly the development of interest group studies in comparative politics as well as in international relations and presents the attempts to systematize these studies undertaken since the 1990. In the second part, I analyse more specifically the network approach, which allows to overcome the cleavage between pluralism and neocorporatism in the study of the relationships between interest groups and state actors. In presenting a critical analysis of the general ideas of the network approach, I propose specific conceptual instruments helping to structure research on interest groups in the European Union.

Laurent Scheeck

As the European Union has become ever more powerful in terms of political output, it has also turned out to be a potential source of human rights violations. While national governments have disagreed on setting up consequential control mechanisms for several decades, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights pre-empted intergovernmental choice. The European courts’ paths unexpectedly crossed when they were both impelled to work out a way to deal with a twofold human rights conundrum situated at the EU level. Turbulent interaction between Europe’s two supranational courts has not only led to a relative improvement of the protection of human rights, but has also deeply transformed the course of European integration. The courts’ increasingly nested linkage has given rise to new forms of supranational judicial diplomacy between European judges. As a result of their evolving relationship, which is simultaneously underpinned by competitive and cooperative logics, the traditional opposition between an “economic Europe” and a “human rights Europe” has been overcome and the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights is high on the political agenda. Yet, this process of integration through human rights remains a fragile and incomplete endeavour. Just as in co-operative binary puzzles where two players must solve the game together and where both lose as one of them tries to win over the other, solving Europe’s binary human rights puzzle has required of European judges a new way of thinking in which it’s not the institutions, but their linkage that matters.