How Issues Move or Get Stuck: Or How to Be Effective in the EU Council of Ministers

European Integration online Papers (EIoP) Special Issue 1, Vol. 17 (2013), Article 6

20 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2013

See all articles by Sandrino Smeets

Sandrino Smeets

Radboud University Nijmegen - Institute for Management Research

Date Written: July 4, 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Council of Ministers, COREPER, enlargement, intergovernmentalism, neo-functionalism, pre-negotiations

Suggested Citation

Smeets, Sandrino, How Issues Move or Get Stuck: Or How to Be Effective in the EU Council of Ministers (July 4, 2013). European Integration online Papers (EIoP) Special Issue 1, Vol. 17 (2013), Article 6, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2290187

Sandrino Smeets (Contact Author)

Radboud University Nijmegen - Institute for Management Research ( email )

PO Box 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

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