The aim of this contribution is to critically evaluate one of the theoretical approaches used to study the European Union (EU) political system and interest groups activity: the advocacy coalition framework (ACF). ACF considers that the outcome of legislative procedures is influenced by the alignment and role played by advocacy coalitions. This contribution assesses the impact of ACF on our understanding of the influences on the EU policy processes, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the approach. The main argument is that the ACF, although very useful in studying the EU political system, shows shortcomings when applied to the study of EU interest groups' performance. The contribution ends with a consideration of future directions for theoretical and empirical ACF research, alone and as part of wider integrated theoretical approaches to understanding the dynamics of influence in the EU.
- advocacy coalitions
- interest groups