Integrated Negotiation Exercise
© Sussex European Institute & Civil Service College
Know-How Fund EU Integration Project Poland
used with kind permission

[Background ] [ Roles ] [ Character of meetings ] [Kinds of outcomes ] [Outline timetable ] [ The issues ] [ Layout of meetings]
Format and Roles
This exercise simulates accession negotiations between two applicants and the EU member states. The applicants are called Nørland and Osterland for this purpose. The exercise is loosely based on the negotiations with the four EFTA countries in 1993/4, with particular reference to environmental issues broadly defined. These issues are chosen because they were of particular importance to this group of applicants, all of which were to hold referenda on the terms of accession, in which it was known that public concerns about the environment would be especially sensitive. The material used in the briefs is drawn from reality, but in a simplified and adapted form. For the sake of simplicity the EU side consists of only six of the then twelve member states, supported by the Conference Secretariat, together with the Commission. Please note the Annexes which contain extracts from some relevant texts.

Accession negotiations take place between the member states of the European Union and individual applicant countries. The EU member states have to decide by consensus on the detailed arrangements for each country. Although several countries may be negotiating for accession simultaneously, each has to negotiate separately for itself. Nonetheless the EU member states compare applicants with each other and prefer to reach similar or compatible outcomes with each applicant. This facilitates the smooth functioning of the internal market. It is much to be preferred if all the negotiations can be completed on the same date, and accession takes place at the same time. There is therefore much looking over shoulders, and a desire not to be seen to fall behind. Generally the governments of applicant countries compare notes with each other as the negotiations proceed and may choose to follow joint strategies on some issues, while still being primarily focused on the issues and interests of their individual states. Historically, applicants have varied enormously in their approaches and tactics.

The EU side is composed as an intergovernmental conference, chaired by the government currently holding the Council presidency (in this case Greece), supported by a 'Conference Secretariat' (drawn from the General Secretariat of the Council, and representatives of the applicant countries). The presidency speaks for the EU member states in the dialogue with the applicants, but can express common positions only to the extent that these have been agreed by the member states. Much of the detailed work of preparation for accession negotiations is done by the Commission on behalf of the member states. Unlike the normal first pillar arrangements the Commission has no right of initiative. The Conference Secretariat provides invaluable technical and logistic support, reinforced by the experience of its staff in drafting and in legal precedents and appropriateness.

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[Background ] [ Character of meetings ] [Kinds of outcomes ] [Outline timetable ] [ The issues ] [ Layout of meetings] 
EU member states
1. Greek Presidency Head of Delegation
2. Greek Presidency Deputy 
3. Conference Secretariat (Nørland team) 
4. Conference Secretariat (Osterland team) 
5. Danish Head of Delegation 
6. Danish Deputy 
7. French Head of Delegation 
8. French Deputy 
9. German Head of Delegation 
10. German Deputy 
11. Spanish Head of Delegation 
12. Spanish Deputy 
13. UK Head of Delegation 
14. UK Deputy 

European Commission task force
15. Head of Nørland team 
16. Head of Osterland team 
17. Coordinator 

The applicants
18. Nørland Head of Delegation 
19. Nørland Deputy 
20. Coordinator 
21. Osterland Head of Delegation 
22. Osterland Deputy 
23. Coordinator 

Note: Assume that Heads of Delegation are senior diplomats; Deputies are environment officials; and that coordinators are responsible for both in-team coordination and maintaining links with other delegations.

Tutors will be available for consultation throughout
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[Background ] [ Roles ] [Kinds of outcomes ] [Outline timetable ] [ The issues ] [ Layout of meetings] 
Character of meetings
You will need to decide what the issues are and how to structure the negotiations. In the real world there will be much political capital riding on a successful outcome. You will need to pace yourself accordingly. Plenary meetings are important and can help to push the agenda forward. They may not, however, always be the best negotiating forum. You will need to tackle how to handle issues as well as matters of substance at an early stage.

The following kinds of meetings constitute the exercise:

plenaries - occasionally with all the EU side and both applicant teams, especially to open and close the exercise; note that the business of plenary sessions is mainly formal, i.e. for official statements of objectives and positions or ratification of negotiated agreements.

individual team coordination - occur throughout the exercise for each delegation to appraise and reappraise objectives, strategy, tactics and substance; each team should establish at the outset its main negotiating objectives and reassess these, along with the appropriate ways to achieve them, as the exercise progresses.

EU side coordination - various formats of EU member states, Conference Secretariat and Commission, mostly broken into two groups for:
    Nørland - heads of member state delegations and relevant Commission and Conference
    Secretariat staff
    Osterland - deputies and relevant Commission and Conference Secretariat staff

Nørland Negotiating Group - Nørland delegation and EU Nørland team

Osterland Negotiating Group - Osterland delegation and EU Osterland team

Applicants' coordination - consultations between some or all members of the Nørland and Osterland delegations

Informal discussions - ad hoc discussions outside formal sessions, when participants should discuss with whomsoever seems relevant and useful; these are crucial to the success of the negotiation

The outline timetable sets out a possible sequence of meetings. Detailed sequencing will depend on the way in which participants choose to address the issues and to handle the negotiations. The sequence may vary between the two applicant countries, since there are differences in the subjects that they will address and there may be differences in strategy and tactics between Nørland and Osterland.

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[Background ] [ Roles ] [ Character of meetings ]  [Outline timetable ] [ The issues ] [ Layout of meetings] 
Kinds of outcome
Remember to leave yourselves time to document the agreement you reach and to prepare texts of any accompanying statements and declarations that you propose to make. Agreements on the issues under consideration may be achieved in a variety of ways. These include: The importance of texts
Since the negotiations have to yield legally enforceable outcomes and politically relevant interpretations, texts have to be prepared and agreed. All delegations should seek to put on paper the words that they want to form the basis of agreement in whichever of the categories above any item might fall. Delegations should consider circulating draft texts, either as formal propositions or as "non-papers", with the aim of moving the discussion forward.
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[Background ] [ Roles ] [ Character of meetings ] [Kinds of outcomes ] [ The issues ] [ Layout of meetings] 
Outline timetable

Introduction to the module
Introduction by tutor
Strategic planning: Team meetings

First Negotiating Session
Plenary meeting - opening statements EU presidency and applicants
Coordination meetings (separately):
    EU side - Nørland team
    EU side - Osterland team
    Applicants' coordination
Negotiating Groups (two in parallel):
    Nørland Negotiating Group
    Osterland Negotiating Group
Individual team meetings
Coordination meetings (negotiating teams separately)
Negotiating Groups (two in parallel)

Second Negotiating Session
Individual team meetings
Coordination meetings (negotiating teams separately)
Negotiating Groups (two in parallel)

Third Negotiating Session
Individual team meetings
Coordination meetings (negotiating teams separately)
Negotiating Groups (two in parallel)

Fourth Negotiating Session
Final session (in plenary or two groups depending on progress)
Individual team meetings

Press Conference Review Session
Review and feedback

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[Background ] [ Roles ] [ Character of meetings ] [Kinds of outcomes ] [Outline timetable ] [ Layout of meetings] 
The Issues
The issues included in this exercise all concern the environment, directly or indirectly. The EU has a considerable and wide-ranging array of legislation on environmental issues, constituting a substantial acquis. While some of this is more or less only focused on the environment as such, much concerns the single market and its requirements, as different national rules concerning product characteristics can impede the free circulation of goods. Some environmental regulations, particularly those governing production processes, can have consequences for industrial costs and thus for the competitiveness of firms. The EU is constantly engaged in discussing additional items of environmental legislation, both to revise existing rules and to introduce new legislation.

There are several recurrent lines of debate among EU member states on these issues. In some EU countries there are strongly articulated preferences for tougher environmental controls in the so-called 'leader' countries, while in other countries, the 'laggards' there are preferences for more restrained legislation. Such differences are partly between richer and poorer countries, partly a reflection of different political or scientific philosophies, and partly a consequence of geography and climate. In some EU member states there are powerful political movements or parties and pressure groups advocating environmentalism, both broadly and on specific issues. There may also be significant differences in approach between different Ministries and Ministers. Such differences are also reflected within the European Commission, where different Commissioners and Directorates General have varied preferences and priorities.

These differences make for lively debate within the EU institutions, with shifting coalitions leading to variation in the outcomes on particular pieces of legislation. Hence in addition to the many individual items of EU legislation there are recurrent discussions on two particular operating principles: one about whether the EU should focus on high standards or minimum necessary standards; and the other about at which level of governance it is appropriate to establish environmental rules - the issue of subsidiarity - given the choice between broader international regimes, EU legislation, national legislation, or, for some countries, sub-national rules. Successive Danish governments, often with support from other 'leader' countries, have in particular been responsible for introducing general safeguard provisions (Single European Act, 1987, Article 100a(4) and the 'Edinburgh Declaration' of December 1992 and the Danish Declaration; see Annexes 1, 2 and 3) in order to protect unilaterally higher national standards, as long as they do not interfere with the internal market.

The accession negotiations are likely to focus mainly on the position as it now stands within the EU: the existing acquis, broadly defined. But applicants will be sensitive to the EU's general stance on environmental matters and broad statements of principle set out in the Treaty (see Annexes 1 and 9), as well as the Commission's proposal for future legislation (some of which will be being discussed and agreed by the EU even as the negotiations proceed).

Article 100a(4)
Article 100a(4) is a tricky part of the treaty base (see Annex 1). It was inserted in the Single European Act by those governments, especially Danish and German, that were very nervous that the single market process might erode high standards. Article 100a(4) was to allow a way for individual EU member states to retain a higher national standard, as long as it did not interfere with the single market. But practice has revealed many differences of interpretation over both procedure and substance. Hence recourse to Article 100a(4) does not guarantee that asserted higher national standards will be accepted. The Treaty of Amsterdam, not agreed at the time that these negotiations took place, sought to clarify these provisions.

Judgements by the European Court of Justice
Periodically cases arrive at the European Court of Justice to assess the compatibility of national laws with EU treaty articles, or to test the interpretation of the EU's environmental legislation or because one or other EU member state is argued not to have implemented its environmental obligations. Legal precision is thus important in the drafting of the legislation, as is the effective monitoring of implementation. Judgements are constantly emerging from the ECJ and can have an important impact on the way legislation is drafted or revised.

Key issues in the exercise
For the purposes of this exercise some issues have been given priority, because they illustrate different kinds of problems and thus different potential outcomes, as well as some variations in emphasis and preoccupation between Nørland and Osterland.

        A. hazardous substances, on which both Nørland and Osterland consider that they
            currently have higher standards than those so far established in the EU acquis
        B. secondary residences, since in both Nørland and Osterland there are limitations on the
            rights of foreigners to purchase residences
        C. sulphur content in diesel, since the limits on this are more restrictive in Nørland and
             Osterland than under current EU rules
        D. Birds and Habitats Directive, known to be a preoccupation for Nørland
        E. lead-free fuel, where Osterland's rules are particularly stringent.

These various environmentally related questions raise:
    - issues of substance (both real and perceived)
    - issues of procedure (what kind of outcome is needed)
    - issues of relative priority and linkage to the rest of the accession process.

Among the EU member states, Denmark and Germany tend to prefer higher standards, while Spain and Greece are nervous about the costs of raising environmental standards too quickly. The French tend to defend strongly those standards represented by the current acquis, while the UK has tended to be reluctant about commitments to unnecessarily high standards.

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[Background ] [ Roles ] [ Character of meetings ] [Kinds of outcomes ] [Outline timetable ] [ The issues 
Layout of meetings
Plenary sessions
 Plenary sessions
EU coordination meetings
 EU coordination meetings
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[Background ] [ Roles ] [ Character of meetings ] [Kinds of outcomes ] [Outline timetable ] [ The issues 
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Uli Sedelmeier, created 24 March 1999.