Bargaining in the European Union and shifts in actors' policy positions

Arregui, Javier and Stokman, Frans and Thomson, Robert (2004) Bargaining in the European Union and shifts in actors' policy positions. European Union Politics, 5 (1). pp. 47-72. ISSN 1465-1165

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Abstract

Although shifts in policy positions are a fundamental feature of the European Union (EU) bargaining process they have not yet been studied systematically. This article provides evidence on the extent to which position shifts occur and tests alternative models of the bargaining process that predict such shifts. We examine a subset of the DEU data set that contains information on shifts in actors’ positions on issues raised by 28 Commission proposals. The three bargaining models presented here posit alternative mechanisms that drive actors’ position shifts during the EU bargaining process. Our research shows that position shifts occur frequently during the EU bargaining process and these shifts in actors’ policy positions are best understood in terms of compromise and exchange among actors.