Analysing the Links between National Capitals and Brussels in EU Foreign Policy

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Series Details Vol.36, No.5, September 2013, p1052-1072
Publication Date September 2013
ISSN 0140-2382
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The article contributes to the study of EU foreign policy decision-making processes by analysing the links between national officials working in the committees of the Council of the EU and their capitals. Through an original dataset of 138 questionnaires (and 20 interviews) with national representatives, it explores the micro-foundations of the formulation of EU foreign policy. It first shows how, even in this most intergovernmental field, diplomats in Brussels play a very important role in the policy process: only 30 per cent claim to always have a mandate and half state that they do not feel constrained by their capital. Next, it reveals that if (larger) member states attempt to retain control of CFSP/CSDP negotiations, the effective discretion/autonomy these officials enjoy depends on the experience accumulated in the decision-making process, and knowledge of the (formal and informal) links between Brussels and the home department.

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