Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 113–135 | Cite as

The relation between the European Commission and the EU member states in the transatlantic Open Skies negotiations: an analysis of their opportunities and constraints

  • Tom DelreuxEmail author


This article examines the internal decision-making process in the European Union with regard to the 2007 EU-US Open Skies Agreement. By exploring the principal-agent relation between the European Commission and the member states, it analyses the constraints and opportunities the Commission faced in avoiding an involuntary defection. Based on interviews and document research, the process-tracing in the article reveals that the main constraints for the Commission were the high degree of political sensitivity in certain member states, the struggle over external aviation competences, and an ambitious mandate. However, during the process, the Commission was able to overcome these constraints by making use of the following opportunities: closely involving the member states in its negotiation task and increasing the cost of no agreement for the member states, not at least by making an appeal to European allies, such as the Court of Justice, the Presidency, and member states with Commission-like preferences.

Key words

European Union principal-agent transatlantic relations aviation policy Open Skies 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de sciences politiques Louvain-EuropeU.C. LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgique

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