Advertisement

Effects of Contestation Within a Collective Agent in EU Trade Policy-Making

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

Abstract

This chapter argues that conceiving the Commission as a unitary actor is a legitimate simplification of empirical reality for most research purposes. Recently, the principal–agent literature has started examining collective-actor features of agents and suggested that internal conflict is as disadvantageous to agents as it is to principals. By contrast, I argue that intra-agent conflict occurs less frequently and with a lower intensity than is typically the case for collective principals. The Commission-as-agent can overcome conflict quickly due to its hierarchical setup and less stringent decision-making procedures. It may even harness conflict through inter-service consultations to draft better initial proposals. On the political level, open conflict among Commissioners can earn it the reputation of credibly defending controversial sectoral interests in the eyes of affected stakeholders. I develop my argument by focusing on five bilateral trade agreements negotiated from 1970–2007. Generalizing it beyond the case of EU trade policy-making, I focus on empirical, theoretical and methodological reasons justifying many scholars’ choice to model agents such as the Commission as unitary actors.

References

  1. Agence Europe. (1998a, July 4). Commission expected to adopt draft mandates for trade liberalisation on Wednesday (despite commissioner Fischler’s reservations). Europe Daily Bulletins, No. 7256.Google Scholar
  2. Agence Europe. (1998b, July 23). Commission recommendation to council for approval to negotiate association comprising free trade area, enhanced cooperation, political and security partnership. Europe Daily Bulletins, No. 7268.Google Scholar
  3. Agence Europe. (1998c, July 9). European commission postpones until 22 July its proposals on future trade relations in order to assess agricultural repercussions. Europe Daily Bulletins, No. 7259.Google Scholar
  4. Agence Europe. (1998d, July 20). France calls for a “clear signal” from council over Commission’s announced initiative over Mercosur. Europe Daily Bulletins, No. 7267.Google Scholar
  5. Agence Europe. (1998e, July 23). Majority of agriculture ministers express concerns and reluctance regarding plans for a free trade area with Mercosur. Europe Daily Bulletins, No. 7268.Google Scholar
  6. Agence Europe. (1998f, April 23). Ministers call for caution on agricultural concessions to third countries – Firm stance by French minister. Europe Daily Bulletins, No. 7206.Google Scholar
  7. Bailer, S. (2014). ‘An agent dependent on the EU member states? The determinants of the European Commission’s legislative success in the European Union. Journal of European Integration, 36(1), 37–53.Google Scholar
  8. Bergman, T., Müller, W., & Strøm, K. (2000). Introduction: Parliamentary democracy and the chain of delegation. European Journal of Political Research, 37(3), 255–260.Google Scholar
  9. Carbone, M. (2007). The European Union and international development: The politics of foreign aid. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Christiansen, T. (2001). Intra-institutional politics and inter-institutional relations in the EU: Towards coherent governance? Journal of European Public Policy, 8(5), 747–769.Google Scholar
  11. Cini, M. (1996). The European Commission: Leadership, organisation, and culture in the EU administration. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Commission. (1971a). Note à l’attention de MM. les membres de la Commission. SEC (71) 1423, HAEC, BAC 3/1978/880, 51.Google Scholar
  13. Commission. (1971b). Projet de communication de la Commission au Conseil concernant les relations entre: I. La Communauté et l’Inde II. La Communauté et l’Iran III. La Communauté et le Pakistan. SEC(71) 2922, HAEC, BAC 48/1984/753, 106–125.Google Scholar
  14. Commission. (1971c). Projet de communication de la Commission au Conseil concernant les relations entre la Communauté et l’Inde. SEC(71) 1747, HAEC, BAC 48/1984/753, 26–36.Google Scholar
  15. Commission. (2016). Distribution of active officials and temporary agents by DG and gender. Statistical Bulletin. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/civil_service/docs/europa_sp2_bs_cat-sexe_x_dg_en.pdf (consulted September 2016).
  16. Conceição-Heldt, E. (2011). Variation in EU member states’ preferences and the commission’s discretion in the Doha Round. Journal of European Public Policy, 18(3), 403–419.Google Scholar
  17. Conceicão-Heldt, E. (2017). Multiple principals’ preferences, types of control mechanisms, and agent’s discretion in trade negotiations. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 203–226). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  18. Coremans E., & Kerremans B. (2017). Agents as information asymmetry managers in EU trade policy-making. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 227–253). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  19. Council. (2002). Press release: 2419th Council meeting, Agriculture. Doc. 7097/02. Retrieved March 18, from http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_PRES-02-68_en.htm (consulted September 2016).
  20. Cram, L. (1994). The European Commission as a multi-organization: Social policy and IT policy in the EU. Journal of European Public Policy, 1(2), 195–217.Google Scholar
  21. Damro, C. (2007). EU delegation and agency in international trade negotiations: A cautionary comparison. Journal of Common Market Studies, 45(4), 883–903.Google Scholar
  22. De Bièvre, D., & Eckhardt, J. (2011). Interest groups and EU anti-dumping policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 18(3), 339–360.Google Scholar
  23. Dehousse, R. (2008). Delegation of powers in the European Union: The need for a multi-principals model. West European Politics, 31(4), 789–805.Google Scholar
  24. Delreux, T., & Kerremans, B. (2010). How agents weaken their principals’ incentives to control: The case of EU negotiators and EU member states in multilateral negotiations. Journal of European Integration, 32(4), 357–374.Google Scholar
  25. Delreux, T., & Adriaensen, J. (2017). Introduction. Use and limitations of the principal–agent model in studying the European Union. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 1–34). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  26. DG I. (1971). Note à l’attention de Monsieur Hijzen: Projet de décision du Conseil autorisant la Commission à ouvrir des négociations avec l’Inde au sujet d’un accord de coopération commerciale. HAEC, BAC 3/1978/880, 180–182.Google Scholar
  27. DG I. (1975, July 14). Record of meeting with representatives of the Chinese embassy. HAEC, BAC 379/1991/49, 195–198.Google Scholar
  28. DG I. (1977a). Note à l’attention de Messieurs les membres de la Commission. HAEC, BAC 379/1991/51, 243–254.Google Scholar
  29. DG I. (1977b). Note à l’attention de Monsieur CASPARI Directeur Général Adjoint: COREPER du 10 novembre Recommandation de la Commission au Conseil concernant l’ouverture de négociations avec la République Populaire de Chine. HAEC, BAC 379/1991/51, 54–55.Google Scholar
  30. DG I. (1977c). Note à l’attention de Monsieur HAFERKAMP, Vice-Président de la Commission: Chine-Communauté Proposition au Conseil en vue de la détermination des directives d’un accord commercial. I/S-4/77, HAEC, BAC 379/1991/51, 225.Google Scholar
  31. DG I. (1977d). Note à l’attention de Sir Roy DENMAN: Projet de recommandation de la Commission au Conseil concernant l’ouverture de négociations avec la Chine. HAEC, BAC 379/1991/51, 239.Google Scholar
  32. DG I. (1977e). Note de Dossier: Chine. HAEC, BAC 379/1991/51, p. 194.Google Scholar
  33. DG I. (1978). Exploratory discussions with a view to possible negotiations with (1) India and (2) ASEAN. HAEC, BAC 367/1991/76, 207–209.Google Scholar
  34. DG VII. (1977). Note for Sir Roy DENMAN, Director General, DG I: Negotiations with China: Shipping. HAEC, BAC 379/1991/51, 56.Google Scholar
  35. DG XI. (1971a). Note à l’attention de Monsieur le Directeur Général Much [du] Service Juridique: Projet de décision du Conseil autorisant la Commission à ouvrir des négociations avec l’Inde au sujet d’un accord de coopération commerciale. HAEC, BAC 48/1984/770, 237.Google Scholar
  36. DG XI. (1971b). Note à l’attention de Monsieur le secrétaire général: Projet de communication de la Commission au Conseil concernant les relations entre la Communauté et l’Inde. HAEC, BAC 48/1984/753, 37–48.Google Scholar
  37. DG XI. (1971c). Note pour la Direction Générale des Relations Exterieur [et] la Direction Gestion de l’Union Douaniere: Projet de décision du Conseil autorisant la Commission à ouvrir des négociations avec l’Inde au sujet d’un accord de coopération commerciale. HAEC, BAC 3/1978/880, 157–179.Google Scholar
  38. DG XI. (1971d). Vermerk für Herrn Professor Dahrendorf: Beziehungen zu Indien. HAEC, BAC 48/1984/753, 49–51.Google Scholar
  39. DG XI. (1972a). Projet de recommendation de décision du Conseil autorisant la Commission à ouvrir des négociations avec l’Inde au sujet d’un accord de coopération commerciale. HAEC, BAC 48/1984/753, 241–270.Google Scholar
  40. DG XI. (1972b). Vermerk fuer Herrn Professor Dahrendorf: Entwurf einer Empfehlung an den Rat betreffend die Eröffnung von Verhandlungen mit Indien zwecks Abschluss eines Abkommens über handelspolitische Zusammenarbeit. HAEC, BAC 48/1984/753, 272–298.Google Scholar
  41. DG XI. (1972c). Vermerk für Herrn Professor Dahrendorf: Entwurf einer Empfehlung an den Rat betreffend die Eröffnung von Verhandlungen mit Indien zwecks Abschluss eines Abkommens über handelspolitische Zusammenarbeit. HAEC, BAC 48/1984/753, 331.Google Scholar
  42. Dijkstra, H. (2017). Non-exclusive delegation to the European External Action Service. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 55–81). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  43. Dür, A. (2007). EU trade policy as protection for exporters: The agreements with Mexico and Chile. Journal of Common Market Studies, 45(4), 833–855.Google Scholar
  44. Dür, A., & Elsig, M. (2011). Principals, agents, and the European Union’s foreign economic policies. Journal of European Public Policy, 18(3), 323–338.Google Scholar
  45. Elgström, O., & Larsén, M. (2010). Free to trade? Commission autonomy in the economic partnership agreement negotiations. Journal of European Public Policy, 17(2), 205–223.Google Scholar
  46. Elsig, M. (2011). Principal–agent theory and the World Trade Organization: Complex agency and “missing delegation”. European Journal of International Relations, 17(3), 495–517.Google Scholar
  47. Gastinger, M. (2014). Negotiating bilateral trade agreements in the European Union: Commission autonomy and member state control (Unpublished PhD Thesis). Florence: European University Institute.Google Scholar
  48. Gastinger, M. (2016). The tables have turned on the European Commission: The changing nature of the pre-negotiation phase in EU bilateral trade agreements. Journal of European Public Policy, 23(9), 1367–1385.Google Scholar
  49. Graham, E. (2014). International organizations as collective agents: Fragmentation and the limits of principal control at the World Health Organization. European Journal of International Relations, 20(2), 366–390.Google Scholar
  50. Hawkins, D., & Jacoby, W. (2006). How agents matter. In D. Hawkins, D. Lake, D. Nielson, & M. Tierney (Eds.), Delegation and agency in international organizations (pp. 199–228). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Helwig, N. (2017). Agent interaction as a source of discretion for the EU High Representative. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 105–129). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  52. Hix, S. (2005). The political system of the European Union (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  53. Kassim, H., & Menon, A. (2003). The principal–agent approach and the study of the European Union: Promise unfulfilled? Journal of European Public Policy, 10(1), 121–139.Google Scholar
  54. Kerremans, B. (2004). What went wrong in Cancun? A principal–agent view on the EU’s rationale towards the Doha development round. European Foreign Affairs Review, 9(3), 363–393.Google Scholar
  55. Kiewiet, R., & McCubbins, M. (1991). The logic of delegation: Congressional parties and the appropriations process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  56. Kostanyan, H. (2014). The rationales behind the European External Action Service: The principal–agent model and power delegation. Journal of Contemporary European Research, 10(2), 166–183.Google Scholar
  57. Kroll, D. A. (2017). Manifest and latent control on the Council by the European Council. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 157–180). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  58. Kurpas, S., Grøn, C., & Kaczyński, P. (2008). The European Commission after enlargement: Does more add up to less? CEPS Special Report.Google Scholar
  59. Laloux, T. (2017). Designing a collective agent for trilogues in the European Parliament. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 83–103). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  60. Larsén, M. (2007). Trade negotiations between the EU and South Africa: A three-level game. Journal of Common Market Studies, 45(4), 857–881.Google Scholar
  61. Legal Service. (1977). Note à la direction générale des relations extérieurs: Projet de recommandation de la Commission au Conseil concernant l’ouverture de négociations avec la Chine. HAEC, BAC, 379(1991/51), 240–242.Google Scholar
  62. McCubbins, M., & Schwartz, T. (1984). Congressional oversight overlooked: Police patrols versus fire alarms. American Journal of Political Science, 28(1), 165–179.Google Scholar
  63. Metcalfe, L. (2000). Reforming the Commission: Will organizational efficiency produce effective governance? Journal of Common Market Studies, 38(5), 817–841.Google Scholar
  64. Moe, T. (1984). The new economics of organization. American Journal of Political Science, 28(4), 739–777.Google Scholar
  65. Nielson, D., & Tierney, M. (2003). Delegation to international organizations: Agency theory and World Bank environmental reform. International Organization, 57(2), 241–276.Google Scholar
  66. Niemann, A., & Huigens, J. (2011). The European Union’s role in the G8: A principal–agent perspective. Journal of European Public Policy, 18(3), 420–442.Google Scholar
  67. Nugent, N. (1995). The leadership capacity of the European Commission. Journal of European Public Policy, 2(4), 603–623.Google Scholar
  68. Nugent, N., & Saurugger, S. (2002). Organizational structuring: The case of the European Commission and its external policy responsibilities. Journal of European Public Policy, 9(3), 345–364.Google Scholar
  69. Pollack, M. (2003). The engines of European integration: Delegation, agency, and agenda setting in the EU. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Reichert, M., & Jungblut, B. (2007). European Union external trade policy: Multilevel principal–agent relationships. Policy Studies Journal, 35(3), 395–418.Google Scholar
  71. Reykers, Y., & Beach, D. (2017). Process-tracing as a tool to analyse discretion. In T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (Eds.), The principal–agent model and the European Union (pp. 255–281). London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  72. Strøm, K. (2000). Delegation and accountability in parliamentary democracies. European Journal of Political Research, 37(3), 261–290.Google Scholar
  73. Thatcher, M. (2011). The creation of European regulatory agencies and its limits: A comparative analysis of European delegation. Journal of European Public Policy, 18(6), 790–809.Google Scholar
  74. Weingast, B., & Moran, M. (1983). ‘Bureaucratic discretion or congressional control? Regulatory policymaking by the Federal Trade Commission’. Journal of Political Economy, 91(5), 765–800.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

Personalised recommendations