Small States in the European Union: Coping with Structural Disadvantages

By Diana Panke | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Mapping Negotiation Success

This chapter provides an overview of the state of the art in research on negotiation success in the EU. Research in this area very often focuses on a limited number of the various issues at stake in the negotiation of a legal act. This is problematic since many items are on the negotiation agenda for a particular legal act and states differ in their preferences and their preference intensity across items, which affects the overall constellation of positions and the chances of a particular state to effectively influence the negotiation outcome in applying strategies. In addition, state of the art approaches often deduce the degree of negotiation success of a country from the level of congruence between its initial position and the final outcome. The weakness of this approach is that it cannot distinguish between success that is caused by a state’s resources (e.g. the number of votes, economic power) and strategies (e.g. bargaining), on the one hand, and coincidental overlaps between initial positions and outcomes that have been shaped by other actors, on the other hand. Only the former allows for a proper test of bargaining models. Therefore, this chapter introduces an alternative measurement for negotiation success that focuses on an interactive element. It does not deduce success from a match between outcomes and initial positions, but regards success as the extent to which states manage to influence the negotiation outcome in line with their positions. The chapter presents data from a survey which reveals that some small EU member states are more successful in uploading their policy preferences to the EU-level than others. Two case studies complement the quantitative study by analysing negotiation successes and corroborating - in line with the survey - that some of the small states are indeed more successful than others in effectively influencing EU policies according to their negotiation instructions.

Negotiation success is commonly defined as the degree to which member states achieve their goals (Bailer 2004: 100) or, put differently, the extent to which a final negotiation outcome reflects the preferences of a state (Koenig 2008, Thompson and Hosli 2006). Models seeking to explain negotiation success can be distinguished along three dimensions. Firstly, studies attribute different degrees of causal power to formal rules, ranging from pure power-based (realist) bargaining studies to (institutionalist) legal-procedural approaches. The former assume political and material power as being the crucial explanatory factor governing EU negotiations (e.g. Widgren 1994), whereas the latter put more emphasis on formal rules (e.g. decision-making procedures, the share of votes) (e.g. Tsebelis and Garrett 1996, Bailer 2006). Secondly, quantitative models differ in the types of actors they include into their analysis. While some focus mainly on states (e.g. Bailer 2004, Mattila 2004, Selck 2005), others consider more prominently the role

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