The Nordic countries are known as frontrunners of transparency, and the European Union’s transparency regime owes many of its ideals, if not the reality, to Northern influences. Nonetheless, although perceived as a transparency-enhancing measure, none of the Nordic countries has adopted lobbying regulation. Assessing the Nordic parliamentary and governmental debates from the 1980s onwards, this article offers an analysis of a complex relationship between legislative transparency and lobbying regulation in the five countries. The Nordic countries have different ideas of whose transparency lobbying regulation is meant to increase. In Sweden, Denmark and Norway, lobbying regulation is seen as a policy measure to enhance transparency about lawmakers’ activities, while the Icelandic and Finnish debates consider lobbying regulation as a way to increase information about the role lobbyists play in law-making. Although all the Nordic countries exhibit varying degrees of an elitist small country mentality where lobbying regulation would interfere with ‘informal governance’ by way of Sunday dinners and hot baths, the difference in transparency emphases is crucial. It helps to understand the divergent Nordic policy paths and to contextualize both EU and Member State discussions on lobbying regulations and transparency.
European Public Law – Kluwer Law International
Published: Jul 1, 2021