ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Position taking, agenda setting, legislative influence. Unwrapping the “large country effects” in the enlarged Council of Ministers

Marzena Kloka
Universität Bremen
Marzena Kloka
Universität Bremen
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper aims at exploring the concept of agenda setting in the context of everyday negotiations in the EU. Given that legislative dossiers are extremely complex, especially in policy fields related to the economic and legal integration, questions about the drivers of the bargaining dynamics emerge: Who determines what are the core issues, how much attention is granted to them in the legislative micromanagement and what kind of policy/legal solutions are discussed? Those questions are all the more important in the EU of 27, mostly small or medium-sized countries and may even help us to understand the (puzzling) high decision-making capacity of the EU after the Eastern Enlargement. This paper will, in the first place, conceptualize the agenda setting power as quick and effective position taking by countries as well as a clear framing of major policy conflicts within a legislative dossier. The empirical material consists of contrasting country positions and examples of negotiation behavior in recent negotiations on the Patient Mobility Directive. The data comes from document research and interviews conducted with process participants. In the second, analytical step both domestic (policy expertise, salience) and supranational factors (institutional opportunity structures) facilitating effective agenda setting in an intergovernmental environment are considered using previous country examples. The third part engages in a brief discussion on the consequences of uneven framing- and position-taking capacity among EU member countries for the policy-making dynamics. The conclusion argues that agenda setting capacity constitutes, next to voting and coalition building, one of the most important manifestations of power within the Council of Ministers.