My new article ‘The relation between the European Commission and the EU member states in the transatlantic Open Skies negotiations: an analysis of their opportunities and constraints’ has appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Transatlantic Studies.
The article examines the internal decision-making process in the European Union with regard to the 2007 Open Skies Agreement (on liberalization in the aviation sector) between the EU and the US. It analyses the constraints and opportunities the Commission, as the EU negotiator, faced in order to make sure that the member states at the end of the day accepted the agreement that it reached with its American negotiation partners. In the article, I compare a situation in which the member states rejected the proposed agreement by the Commission (in 2004) and a situation a few years later (in 2007) when the member states accepted the agreement, although it did not met their initial preferences. The analysis shows that the Commission was able to overcome the constraints it faced (a high degree of political sensitivity in certain member states, the struggle over external aviation competences and an ambitious mandate) by making use of strategic opportunities (closely involving the member states in its negotiation task and increasing the cost of no agreement for the member states, not at least by making an appeal to European allies, such as the Court of Justice, the Presidency, and member states with Commission-like preferences).