Interest Representation during the Corona Virus Crisis (InterCov Project)

The Corona virus crisis has exerted a major social and economic shock in countries worldwide. Both the pandemic itself, as well as the crisis management policies resulting from it, could entail big changes for the representation of different social and economic interests in public policy. The Interest Representation during the Coronavirus Crisis (InterCov) Project was initiated in May 2020 with the aim to assess these effects of Covid-19 on interest representation and political advocacy


How did interest groups and companies represent their political interests during the Coronavirus crisis? How has this crisis affected their ability to mobilise, and express their views and needs to decision-makers? 


Our project set out to address such questions by collecting data across active interest groups and companies in ten polities in Europe, namely in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, France, and at the European Union (EU)-level. From early June to mid-July 2020, a first online survey was conducted among a sample of ca. 6.000 organisations and large firms. In 2021, we are conducting interviews with stakeholders in selected countries and preparing the second wave of our survey.


See below for more information on the survey, examples of media coverage of the project, as well as the project's outputs and work in progress.

Project team:
Wiebke Marie Junk, Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen
Michele Crepaz, Assistant Professor, NUI Galway
Marcel Hanegraaff, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam
Joost Berkhout, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam
Ellis Aizenberg, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Amsterdam


Information on the survey

In this report, we summarise important descriptive patters we found in the data collected through our first survey.

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, M., Hanegraaff, J., Berkhout, E., Aizenberg (2020). Interest Representation during the Corona Virus Crisis: Results from the European Union and Nine European Countries. Summary Report

For an overview of all survey questions in wave 1, please see our general codebook: 

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, M., Hanegraaff, J., Berkhout, E., Aizenberg (2020). InterCov Project: Online Survey on Interest Representation during Covid-19. Edition : June – July 2020. 

Project Outputs

This blog post on 3Streams summarises some of our initial findings. 

Junk, W.M. and M. Crepaz (2020) New evidence shows Coronavirus crushed citizen groups across Europe. 3Streams on Medium. 

The first academic paper from the project assesses how access to governments, legislatures, the bureaucracy and the media has changed after the outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe (work in process, currently under review).

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, M., Hanegraaff, J., Berkhout, and E., Aizenberg (2021) ’Who gets heard when all are in shock? On Changes in Lobbying Access before and after the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Europe’, Preliminary Draft, January 2021.

In a second academic paper, we analyse how access barriers and longer lock-down policies affect the strategies of interest groups, as well as their fears about organisational survival (work in process, currently under review).

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, and E., Aizenberg (2021) ‘Fight or flight? An elite survey experiment on the effects of access barriers and interest disruption on the activities of interest organisations in 10 polities across Europe’, Preliminary Draft, March 2021.

In the future, other project outcomes will be made available here and other research outlets by the project team.


InterCov in the media

Mandagmorgen (2020) Ny undersøgelse nuancerer billedet af en regering, der kun lytter til sig selv.

L’espresso (2020) Così le lobby etiche difendono i beni comuni: e sono sempre più ascoltate.

The Huffington Post Italy (2020) Nell’emergenza i forti prosperano e i deboli soccombono.

The Good Lobby Blog (2020). In the COVID-19 emergency, the strong thrive and the weak die out in the policy space.

Politiken (2020). Debatindlæg om Minklobbyisme. 

The Good Lobby Italy (2020) Il digitale ha ridotto la distanza tra politica e società civile? ​

3Streams Blog on Medium (2020) New evidence shows Coronavirus crushed citizen groups across Europe. 

Talks and Events

Invited Talk "Lobbying in Times of Covid-19", SDU Politikuge, February 2021

Mini-conference in cooperation with the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, November 2020

Talk about the InterCov project at the Danish Public Affairs Rud Pedersen, November 2020

Series of Webinars on the Survey Report, October 2020