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

Javier Arregui, Frans Stokman, Robert Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-72
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Union Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • bargaining models
  • Council of Ministers
  • decision-making
  • legislative politics
  • policy positions

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