It’s the Centre-Periphery, Stupid! Cooperation Patterns in the Council of Ministers after Enlargement

Mart Laatsit and Dr Michael Kaeding
ISBN 13 EIPA Code #: 2011/W/02 Year: 2011 Pages: 26 Digital: 0 €

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Cooperation patterns in the Council of Ministers have featured particular characteristics over the last decades. Seven years after the 2004 round of enlargement, it is time to readdress the question whether longstanding cooperation patterns have endured and how the new members have fit in the existing structures. Following a comparative case study research design, the current article investigates four negotiations: the 7th Framework Programme, the Services Directive, the Driving Licence Directive and the Working Time Directive. Having conducted 40 semi-structured interviews with national representatives of ten Member States we find that some cooperation patterns, such as the north-south divide, have persisted. More specifically, the results reveal that the overall pattern leans towards a centreperiphery model with the northern Member States as the central actors.