The EU GM Battle Goes in the Next Round…

9 thoughts on “The EU GM Battle Goes in the Next Round…”

  1. I think the graph showing the voting weight of countries within the EU Council is not up-to-date, it’s missing the countries which have joined the EU in 2007; arguably the roughly 30 million population is not negligible.

    In the process of documenting myself about the decision-making process of the last CAP reform I have found in the literature a methodological tool entitled “two level games”. It was coined by Putnam (1988) in order to understand how the 1987 Bonn summit conference came about, suggesting that there is a “synergistic linkage” between the domestic and the international levels of negotiation, meaning that one has to look simultaneously at both levels in order to explain the choices the negotiators make. Later one this approach was reused by Paarlberg (1997) who saw the breakthrough of the substantial McSharry reform of the CAP in light of the pressure created by the Uruguay round of negotiation, especially since only 4 years before in 1988 the stabilizer package proved to be very unambitious. Another author Patterson (1997) in examining EU policy-making thought it necessary to expand Putnam’s theory to three levels – domestic, European and international – briefly, because the EU is neither a country nor an international organization.

    What I am trying to say is that decision-making at the EU level will appear confusing if the analysis is strictly restricted at what is happening in Brussels. The adoption of a more holistic view that takes into account what is happening at the domestic level – if one is dealing with election years, the specific issues each country faces etc. – as well as the international level – e.g. the connection between the massive 2003 Mid Term Review reforms of the CAP and the at the time still promising Doha round. Today one could also look at the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the US for a free trade pact for more explanations, although even now I think the EU is importing GMO soy feed. Regarding the “disregard for the popular opinion” it is worth mentioning that this has also happened in the past with the unpopular EU constitution, rejected by France and Netherlands in a popular referendum in 2005, but which later reemerged as the Lisbon Treaty; the Commission was wise enough not to call any more referendums.

    1. This was fascinating Cristian! Thanks for bringing in a bit of political science analysis – I miss that kind of discussion from my undergrad days. And you are certainly right that there are many more underlying reasons that influence politicians’ decision-making processes, including election cycles and simultaneously occurring negotiations in other areas. I guess my viewpoint changed a bit from the large-picture complacent political scientist towards opposing this type of quid-pro-quo policy-making if it touches issues close to my heart that are traded away despite clear popular opposition… and you are right re: the voting graph, it was the best image I could find for illustration purposes but I agree that it might be misleading, I’ll see whether I can find an updated one! Hope you contribute more of your thoughts on other issues as well!

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