Negotiating Flexibility in the European Union: Amsterdam, by Alexander Stubb (auth.)

By Alexander Stubb (auth.)

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Indeed ‘negotiating fora may engage a layer or a smaller number of layers of political decision, or plurality of players, beyond the formal representatives in the negotiations’ (HayesRenshaw and H. Wallace 1997: 250). This strengthens the point made earlier that the EU game is usually closely linked to the game that goes on in respective national capitals. IGC negotiations are often linked to other issues on the EU agenda. There are both implicit and explicit links within the negotiation agenda and outside of it.

In the 1996–97 IGC the clearest external factor was the British general election, which was finally held on 1 May 1997. Throughout the IGC there was a feeling that very little could be resolved before the British election. The Conservative government would not be able to give any concessions relating to the end-game before the general election. To a certain extent this was counter-productive in the IGC. The actual IGC, starting with the European Council of Turin in March 1996 and ending with the European Council of Amsterdam in June 1997, took 15 months, which The Nature of IGC Negotiations 23 is exceptionally long.

4 The shift in the debate was to come with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty and the institutionalisation of functional flexibility in the form of EMU and the Social Chapter. The third wave of the flexibility debate: 1992–97 Much of the credit for the resurgence of flexibility literature can be given to the differentiated arrangements established in the Maastricht Treaty. The earlier debates clearly had an influence on the emergence of the new flexibility debate. As H. and W. Wallace (1995) pointed out, the negotiations on EMU, CFSP and JHA should not be separated from the earlier debates about EMS, WEU and the Schengen agreements.

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