Heynen, Klaus-Jörg (2011) Negotiating EU Law. Particularities and Conclusions. ZEI Discussion Paper C 207, 2011. [Working Paper]
I. Introduction. 1. Importance of good negotiating skills. In Brussels nothing drops from the sky: not a directive, regulation, decision, green book, white book, recommendation, opinion, communication and so on. Everything is the result of the EU specific decision making process. This process is directed and controlled by negotiations. We can influence it to a high degree if we effectively participate in these negotiations. Effective participation in EU decision making means above all to take an active part in and to influence the far-reaching EU legislation. A regulation on environmental standards for example - after difficult negotiations adopted in Brussels today - will be published in the EU's Official Journal tomorrow. The day after tomorrow this regulation will represent directly applicable legislation for the EU's nearly 500 million citizens. If we want to make sure that our interests, the interests of our institution or our national interests are taken into account, we have to negotiate effectively. That’s one reason why good negotiating is so important in the EU. There is however another reason. Good bargaining in the EU is much more than pushing through our own interests, as the negotiations in the EU have to reconcile the very different interests of all participants, especially the interests of all Member States. Only if all participants negotiate well, can the negotiation result be acceptable to all EU partners in the long run. Most of the critical developments in the EU from the empty-chair policy in the sixties to the veto situations in the eighties and the crises in recent years may be explained as the result of negotiating mistakes. This is why good negotiating skills form a fundamental basis of the functioning and stability of the EU.
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