The Informal Politics of Codecision: Introducing a New Data Set on Early Agreements in the European Union
31 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 2014
One of the most important developments in the history of the EU’s codecision procedure has been the steep rise in “early agreements” since 1999, and the shift of legislative decision-making from public inclusive to informal secluded arenas. As part of a wider research project on “The Informal Politics of Codecision”, this working paper launches a new data set on all 797 legislative files concluded under codecision between 1999 and 2009. The paper discusses the process of data collection and coding; explains and justifies the operationalisation and measurement of key variables; and elaborates on the methodological challenges of capturing informal political processes. The paper offers rich descriptive statistics on the scale and scope of early agreements across time, and explores how key characteristics of the legislative file (legal nature, policy area, complexity, salience, policy type, duration) and of the main negotiators (priorities of the Council Presidency, ideological distance between Parliament’s rapporteur and national minister, Presidency’s workload) co-vary with decision-makers’ choice to “go informal”. Demonstrating that early agreements are not restricted to technical, urgent or uncontested files but occur across the breadth of EU legislation, and increasingly so with time in use, the data strongly underline the relevance of informal decision-making for scholars and policy-makers alike.
Keywords: Codecision, early agreements, trilogues, informalisation, 1999-2009, file characteristics, negotiators’ properties
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