European Union Negotiations: Processes, Networks and Institutions

By Ole Elgström; Christer Jönsson | Go to book overview

6

Compliance bargaining

Jonas Tallberg and Christer Jönsson


Introduction

The notion that negotiations proceed through several identifiable stages is common in the negotiation literature. Some theorists postulate an early contentious stage and a later problem-solving phase, with varying numbers of stages in between (cf. Pruitt and Rubin 1986:137); others distinguish a diagnostic, a formula and a detail phase (Zartman and Berman 1982). In any event, it is the process leading up to the signing of an agreement that has been in focus. Attempts to extend negotiation analysis beyond the negotiating table have primarily dealt with the pre-negotiation stage (Saunders 1985; Stein 1989). By contrast, post-agreement bargaining, following from the conclusion of an agreement, has received scant attention (but see Spector and Zartman 2003).

In this chapter we will analyse one particular form of post-agreement bargaining in the European Union, which we label compliance bargaining, understood as a process of bargaining between the signatories to an agreement already concluded, or between the signatories and the international institution governing the agreement, and which pertains to the terms and obligations of this agreement. Elsewhere (Jönsson and Tallberg 1998) we have developed an analytical framework for understanding the forms, sources and effects of compliance bargaining, which will inform our analysis of this important yet largely neglected phenomenon in the European Union.

Bargaining and compliance remain the objects of separate strands of research in EU studies. The literature on bargaining and negotiations in the European Union is heavily focused on the intergovernmental bargaining preceding history-making deals in European cooperation (e.g. Laursen and Vanhoonacker 1992; Moravcsik 1998), the inter-institutional negotiations leading up to the adoption of secondary legislation (e.g. Mesquita and Stokman 1994; Tsebelis and Garrett 2000) and the European Union as a negotiating party in external relations (e.g. Friis 1996; Meunier 2000). In all cases, the bargaining processes explored by existing scholarship are pre-decisional, that is, they consist of the exchange of proposals for purposes of reaching agreement on new rules. By contrast, post-decisional processes of bargaining over compliance with these rules have so far been neglected in the literature. The pre-decisional bias in existing research is well illustrated by two recent special issues on negotiation and bargaining in the European Union, which

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