Doreen Allerkamp
The Council Presidency and the Greek Debt Crisis: the Predictions of the Presidency Effect

6th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association, Brussels, June 23rd to June 25th, 2016

The institutional changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty notwithstanding, the rotating Presi-dency of the Council of Ministers has become a crucial actor in the context of EU decision-making. The incumbent member state is subject to a combination of office-specific formal and informal, institutional and normative constraints and incentives, which can cause the incumbent to behave in ways that deviate from the standard rational choice institutionalist (RCI) expecta-tions regarding the behaviour of a given EU member state in the Council: in addressing the in-ternal and external challenges on the Presidency’s agenda, the Presidency effect (PE) hypothesis predicts, the incumbent will try to balance its own national preferences with the particular de-mands and opportunities of the four roles of the Council Presidency. By contrast, a standardized RCI-based hypothesis predicts no systematic variation in member states’ policy positions during their tenure of the rotating Council Presidency, and expects their behaviour to change only in that they are using the office as additional leverage in pursuit of their national policy prefer-ences. Using fsQCA, this paper tests these competing hypotheses in an analysis of successive Council Presidencies’ handling of the internal challenge presented by the Greek debt crisis (2010-2015).