How issues move or get stuck: Or how to be effective in the EU Council of Ministers

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Series Details Vol.17 (2013), No.6
Publication Date 2013
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Determining the locus and the logic of decision making in the EU Council of Ministers continues to be a major challenge. Insiders and outsiders have difficulty explaining why some issues move swiftly and smoothly through the Council, while others ‘get stuck’ at working party, Coreper or the ministerial level. This paper reconceptualises the internal negotiations as battles between drivers and brakemen, whereby the goal is to keep issues on or off the (ministers’) agenda. It also addresses the follow up question: whether either side has a structural advantage in these procedural battles? It clarifies the working of this mechanism by means of a process tracing analysis of one particular decision-making trajectory: that concerning the opening of accession negotiations with Croatia.

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