Title: What factors determine bargaining power in EU negotiations? (PDF 3.6MB)

Author(s): Stefanie Bailer

Paper number and date: WP 09-03, May 2009

Abstract: Since EU Council of Ministers negotiations remain characteristically secretive, outsiders have but little knowledge of the actual factors that determine bargaining power in these negotiations. However, previous research has shown that gains and losses in these negotiations are relatively equally shared amongst the EU members, and that the influence of exogenous power resources—such as votes are more important than endogenous resources such as bargaining skill (Bailer, 2004).

This article presents an overview of the current literature on bargaining power in EU negotiations. I suggest several areas for future research regarding the partisan preferences of EU governments and the way this influences their coalition formation behaviour. More attention should be paid to the context of these negotiations, their differing meeting frequencies, and the resulting reciprocity logics. Such studies will benefit from analysing the context with multilevel analysis, and from recently published data sets. However, it merits noting that more efforts to generate and analyse negotiation positions will be necessary, in order to see what bargaining power can achieve in the Council.

Keywords: European Union Council of Ministers - bargaining power – negotiation – partisan preferences – reciprocity

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