Legal framing and the EU’s external relations: how NGOs shaped the negotiations for an Israel-Europol cooperation agreement

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Series Details Volume 26, Number 6, Pages 906-926
Publication Date June 2019
ISSN 1350-1763 (print) | 1466-4429 (online)
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The role of law has received only scarce attention in the emerging debate on framing EU policy. Addressing this research gap, we develop a concept of legal framing that identifies different strategies through which frame entrepreneurs can shape the policy debate by activating the structural power of the law.

We demonstrate the relevance of these strategies for the case of the negotiations for an Israel-Europol agreement in which the NGO MATTIN Group has emerged as an influential frame entrepreneur. The NGO conclusively established that the initial draft of the Israel-Europol agreement deviated in important respects from the EU’s own legal position. Over time, the EU increasingly felt compelled to maintain the unity and consistency of EU law, asking a number of additional conditions from Israel. The EU’s new stance had important implications for the deadlocked Israel-Europol negotiations as well as for EU-Israeli contractual relations more broadly.

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