EU Lobbying and the Golden Cage of Post-Socialist Network Capitalism in Hungary

34 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2016 Last revised: 7 Mar 2016

See all articles by Dorottya Sallai

Dorottya Sallai

London School of Economics (LSE)

Date Written: June 12, 2012


The literature on business lobbying has shown that firms increasingly extend their interest representation activities from the domestic to the European level. Consequently, over the last 20 years, individual firms have become influential political actors in Brussels. Yet, after eight years of full membership, Eastern European (EE) corporations stay away from EU-level policy-making.

This paper argues that the institutional structures emerging in post-socialist countries prevent firms from developing the necessary capabilities for professional lobbying. While in large WE companies public affairs are managed mostly through independent in-house departments or contracted professional consultancies, in EE organizations lobbying is handled exclusively at the highest level of the organizational hierarchy, through informal interpersonal networks. I argue that the confinement of lobbying strategy to the top of corporate management reduces its effectiveness and scope. Consequently, EE companies are unable to integrate into EU lobbying.

Keywords: lobbying, Eastern Europe, public affairs, strategy

JEL Classification: P16

Suggested Citation

Sallai, Dorottya, EU Lobbying and the Golden Cage of Post-Socialist Network Capitalism in Hungary (June 12, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Dorottya Sallai (Contact Author)

London School of Economics (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street| London
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom


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