Designing a Collective Agent for Trilogues in the European Parliament

Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


Why does the European Parliament delegate the task to negotiate with the Council in trilogues to a collective agent, i.e. a negotiating team, when the literature contests the rationality of such decision? Analysing the reforms establishing the negotiating teams, this chapter suggests that collective agents can be beneficial for principals. When principals are divided into ideologically structured subgroups and when agents are a subset of the principals, delegation to collective agents allows for mirroring the principal’s structure and is therefore likely to increase the agent’s faithfulness toward the entire principal, who can in turn give him more autonomy. These benefits explain why the cost-benefit calculus made by principals and the resulting design of delegation lean toward collective, rather than single, agents.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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