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ZEI Discussion Paper C 207/2011

Klaus-Jörg Heynen: Negotiating EU Law. Particularities and Conclusions

ZEI Discussion Paper C 207/2011


In Brussels nothing drops from the sky. No regulation, directive, decision, communication, green book or white book is done at random. Everything is the result of the specific EU decision making process. This decision making process is directed and controlled by negotiations. So the Member States and their negotiators, as well as non-governmental stakeholders can be highly influential. Nevertheless, there are often failures and deep disappointments about results for those involved in negotiating.

The Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) has made effective early negotiating and lobbying at the EU level, one of the primary foci of its Master of European Studies (MES). In the field of EU negotiating, there is little published literature related to actual negotiation practices rather, most sources are based on first person experience in EU negotiations.

The aim of ZEI Discussion Paper C207/2011 is to fill that gap. It is based on the premise that in an EU comprising 27 Member States only a small part of negotiations take place in the conference room. Negotiating has become a very complex task that is often continued largely outside the conference room. It identifies those particularities of the EU decision-making process that are relevant for negotiators including voting by majority, weighting of Member State votes, the role of the Commission, the EP and the Presidency as well as the multitude of bodies and persons involved, the diversity of national interests, the sustainability of negotiating relations and the language regime. The paper then illustrates the necessary actions to be taken with regard to these considerations in order to have a successful EU negotiating approach.

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