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The Agenda-Shaping Powers of the EU Council Presidency

Journal of European Public Policy 10 (1): 1-19, 2003

19 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2012  

Jonas Tallberg

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Existing literature is overwhelmingly skeptic about capacity of the Council Presidency to shape the EU agenda. The Presidency’s ability to promote private concerns is considered highly limited and, typically, the Presidency is depicted as a ‘responsabilité sans pouvior’. This article challenges the conventional wisdom on theoretical and empirical grounds. Theoretically, it develops a conceptual framework that expands the notion of influence, by distinguishing between three forms of agenda shaping: agenda setting, agenda structuring, and agenda exclusion. In this exercise, I draw on theories of bargaining and decision-making developed in International Relations and American Politics. Empirically, the article provides an inventory of the instruments available to the Presidency within each form of agenda shaping, as well as illustrative cases that demonstrate how Presidencies regularly influence outcomes in EU policy-making. Illustrations are drawn primarily from the six consecutive Presidencies in the period 1999-2001: Germany, Finland, Portugal, France, Sweden, and Belgium.

Keywords: European Union, Presidency, chairmanship, agenda-setting, power, influence

Suggested Citation

Tallberg, Jonas, The Agenda-Shaping Powers of the EU Council Presidency (2003). Journal of European Public Policy 10 (1): 1-19, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2180543

Jonas Tallberg (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

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