Domestic economic and political issues have been shown to influence the decision making in the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers (Bailer et al 2016, Hagemann et al 2018).
It is by now well investigated that governments use votes as signals to domestic economic and political institutions such as national parliaments. However, due to the secrecy in the EU Council and summit negotiations, not a lot is known about the actual negotiation behaviour and the strategies used in the Council (for an exception see Dür/Mateo 2008, Bailer 2014, 2012).
Aiming to addresses this shortcoming, this paper presents an analysis of bargaining strategies used during the Eurocrisis between 2010 and 2015 using data from the EMU Choices project. Based on more than 150 interviews with representatives of the EU member states about the bargaining positions and the strategies used during the negotiations alongside transcripts from negotiations, we analyse whether a government’s use of hard negotiation strategies is motivated by domestic economic and/or political considerations. Our findings complement existing results on economic pressures but are also novel by showing that it is not the level of Euroscepticism of voters that motivates hard negotiation strategies, but rather the low level of trust in the national government. We find that EU governments use domestic constraints much less as an argument in the negotiations than suggested by previous literature on domestic constraints and the two-level literature.
Stefanie Bailer is Professor for Political Science at the Department for Political Science at the University of Basel (Switzerland). Her research interests are legislative studies, decision-making in parliaments and at the national and EU level. She has published her work in European Journal of Political Research, Legislative Studies Quarterly, European Union Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies and International Political Science Review. Currently, she is principal investigator in the research projects “EMU_Choices” (H2020), “Parliamentary Careers in Comparison” (Swiss National Science Foundation) and “POLPOP: Elites’ perception of public opinion”.
Silvana Tarlea is senior researcher in the Institute for European Global Studies and in the Political Science Department of the University of Basel. She obtained her PhD from the University of Oxford, Nuffield College. Her work on the European financial crisis has been published in European Union Politics. Her book on the political determinants of education policies, Power and Policy-Making. From Higher Education to Multinationals in Post-Communist Societies is just out with Routledge.She also published in East European Politics and Societies and Communist and Post-Communist Studies. firstname.lastname@example.org
Waltraud Schelkle is Professor in Political Economy at the LSE European Institute.