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“The Negotiation Process in the European Union: The Mediation-Role of Structures in Negotiations Between Social Actors and the Community re: the Eastern Enlargement Process”

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  • Governance: Eu & National Level
  • Enlargement
  • Germany
  • Decision Making/Policy-Making
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Political Science


The paper, drawing on evidence from a case study-German actors’ strategies in the Eastern enlargement discussions-argues that approaches focusing on the macro-level of analysis, and thus following conventional wisdom in enlargement studies, can too easily neglect the subtleties of a policy-making process. These subtleties can be seen more clearly in an analysis of routine, rather than “constitutional or historical,” decisions. These processes of elaboration of public policies on the European level are characterised not only by the interaction of a number of national actors, both public and private, but also by the complexity of the negotiation process and, finally, by the weak formalisation of decision-making procedures. This form of governance and policy-making in the European Union makes it necessary, in order to analyze actors’ strategies in the decision-making processes, to take policy-making structures on both the national and the European levels into account. In defining a different legitimate order and, therefore different ways to exercise political power, these structures mediate the activities of actors and allow for both the Commission and the social actors to intervene on various decision-making levels. Yet, at the same time, there is substantial evidence to suggest that national governments still enjoy a great deal of leverage in shaping the social and economic conditions of their societies according to prevailing political preferences.

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