Unpacking the Influence of the Council Presidency on European Union External Policies: The Polish Council Presidency and the Eastern Partnership
European Integration online Papers (EIoP) Special Issue 1, Vol. 17 (2013), Article 5
28 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2013
Date Written: July 4, 2013
The special position of the rotating Council Presidency has raised a long-standing debate on the extent to which this function allows a Member State to exert additional influence on European Union decision-making, in particular in external policy. This article argues that a broader and more differentiated study of Presidency influence could further this debate. In doing so, the article analyses the Polish Council Presidency (during the second half of 2011) and its influence on the European Union’s Eastern Partnership policies across three dimensions: (i) differences between influence on the agenda and influence on the contents of decisions, (ii) the forums (different levels in the Council and international forums) where the Presidency can exert influence, and (iii) different types of external policies, an area that has received relatively little scholarly attention thus far in the literature on the Presidency. The analysis shows that (i) the Presidency can determine the agenda to a certain extent, but the position of the chair does not allow the incumbent to exert additional influence on the contents of decisions; (ii) most Presidency influence of external policies is observed in the preparatory bodies of the Council, while at the ministerial or international level this influence is much smaller; and (iii) although the Presidency can play a rather prominent role in organizing multilateral events, this rarely amounts to real political influence. In turn, the Presidency’s influence is most tangible in specific bilateral dossiers.
Keywords: Political science, Poland, EU-East-Central Europe, East-Central Europe, agenda-setting, Council of Ministers, COREPER, security/external, national interest
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