An interest group is a permanent association of people who want to influence the political decision-making process and government action. Interest groups try to influence the legislation . Their activity is called lobbying .
Forms and possibilities
There are associations that can act as interest groups in almost all areas of society. They can be divided into five groups according to their fields of activity:
Associations in business and the world of work
- Business associations , e.g. B. Federal Association of German Industry , German Chamber of Commerce and Industry ;
- Unions , e.g. B. German Trade Union Federation , Civil Service Federation ;
- Consumer associations , e.g. B. Working group of consumer associations ;
- Professional associations , e.g. B. Association of German Engineers ;
Associations with social goals
Associations in the field of leisure and recreation
- Hobby associations (e.g. Association of German Associations for Aquarium and Terrarium Studies )
- Sports clubs (such as the German Olympic Sports Confederation )
Associations in the fields of culture and science
Associations with ideal and socio-political goals
- Human rights organizations ( FGQ , Amnesty International , Kinderschutzbund )
- Animal rights organizations ( People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals , Doctors Against Animal Experiments )
- Nature conservation organizations ( Greenpeace , BUND )
Possibilities and addressees of influence
Pötsch distinguishes five ways of influencing:
- Public : Interest groups advertise their goals with the help of the media , personal contacts with journalists , press conferences , information material or their own press organs. Ad campaigns, demonstrations and strikes are more effective means of enforcing interests .
- Parties : Interest groups are partly close to a party and also support it in the election campaign . They try to anchor their goals in party programs.
- Parliaments : Interest groups provide members or functionaries with parliamentary seats. As experts, these MPs join the relevant parliamentary committees .
- Government and bureaucracy : Interest groups negotiate directly with members of the government and the ministerial bureaucracy.
- Organs of the European Union : The relocation of many decisions to the level of the European Union means that European umbrella organizations have an impact on the EU's decision-making processes.
Among the associations in Germany there are over 5,000 members who pursue political interests. The central associations with federal political interests can be entered in the public list via the registration of associations and their representatives , also known as the lobby list for short (2241, as of March 27, 2015), which is kept by the President of the German Bundestag. The rules of procedure of the Bundestag and the Federal Government expressly provide for the participation of interest groups.
Historically, there were various interest groups in the German Empire after 1871. The association of farmers was one of the economic interest groups .
- Cf. Eberhard Schuett-Wetschky : Interest associations and state . Scientific Book Society, 1997, p. 9.
- sentence after Eckart Thurich: pocket politik. Democracy in Germany , 2006, Federal Agency for Civic Education , online at http://www.bpb.de/popup/popup_lemmata.html?guid=3GVBBT
- Classification and examples according to Horst Pötzsch: Die Deutsche Demokratie . 5th edition, Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education 2009, pp. 48–52, online at http://www.bpb.de/themen/BWDJ3P,0,0,Interessenverb%E4nde.html
- List according to Horst Pötzsch: Die Deutsche Demokratie . 5th edition, Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education 2009, pp. 48–52, online at http://www.bpb.de/themen/BWDJ3P,0,0,Interessenverb%E4nde.html
- sentence after Horst Pötzsch: Die Deutsche Demokratie . 5th edition, Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education 2009, pp. 48–52, online at http://www.bpb.de/themen/BWDJ3P,0,0,Interessenverb%E4nde.html .