The case studies analysed in this chapter compel us to revise our initial hypothesis on the enhancement of different access conditions for noncorporate interests in areas of policy seen as central public concerns. The chapter explored the inputs and lobbying resources deployed by business groups to ensure their dominance of access to consultative channels in the DGs. Expert groups in the DG Fisma were largely dominated by business trade associations and firms, both before and after the financial crisis, as well as the large majority of responses in the stakeholder consultations for the two DGs analysed. Yet issue topicality and relevance seemed to play a role in improving access for non-corporate interests in some cases. For example, in the case of the banking structural reform both the dedicated expert group and the open consultation revealed a balanced composition and an unexpected amount of individual participation. Issue saliency and the opening of consultation channels were largely made possible thanks to the work of Finance Watch, the NGO which has been supported through a special grant programme, with the purpose of enhancing the non-corporate voice in providing expertise and legitimacy inputs to DG Fisma. Thus, the political context forced the Commission to actively promote the position of non-corporate and end-user interests, while the role of special organizations acting as societal entrepreneurs allowed the use of the open consultations as a pressure channel. We found a similar case for the consultation on the ISDS, where the anti-TTIP movement voiced broad opposition to the negotiations. Moreover, in the case of the DG Trade, the establishment of a balanced advisory group on the TTIP and the introduction of innovative participatory channels could be interpreted as instruments for the Commission to enhance the legitimacy of the negotiation under the pressures of a high issue salience and societal opposition. Indeed, it is worth remembering that the opening of new access channels does not imply a stronger effective influence gained by non-corporate actors. Yet the enlarged and enhanced chances for broader societal interests to voice their concerns and opinions could be deemed, at a least, as one of the preliminary conditions to empower the non-business interests’ influence to the Commission, so contributing to the participatory democratization of the EU. Therefore, investigating the impact of heightened public interests on the participatory instruments deployed by the Commission promises to be an interesting research programme to develop.

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