Formal and Informal Organizations of the Government in the EU-15: Description and Effects on the Decision-making Process Considering EU Intergovernmental Negotiations

Research question/goal: 

The aim of the Ph.D. project was to answer the question, which impact the convergence between formal and informal organisation of national governments on the formation of national positions for international negotiations has. In a quantitative case study of the EU intergovernmental conference leading to the Amsterdam treaty, a secondary analysis of the data gathered by Thurner and Pappi (cf. European Intergovernmental Conferences, Routledge 2009) discussed this question. Results: National governments were described as relation specific networks of ministries and the prime minister’s office as corporate actors. The convergence of the formal structure of decision rights and the informally self-organized cooperation structures in the Member States of the European Union varied a lot. Concerning the declared national position prior to the international negotiation, the median of the preferences of the involved actors describes the national position best, if the influence reputations of the actors are used as weights. On the other side, the formal resources available to the actors determine their assertiveness best. All together convergent governmental systems defined more often a distinct national position prior to international negotiations and the governmental actors in such systems derive more utility thereof.

Fact sheet

2005 to 2009



Thurner, Paul W., and Franz Urban Pappi (2009): European Union Intergovernmental Conferences: Domestic Preference Formation, Transgovernmental Networks, and the Dynamics of Compromise. New York / London: Routledge. [Routledge/Uaces Contemporary European Studies; 10] more