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Explaining the Treaty of Nice: beyond Liberal Intergovernmentalism?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses how to explain the Treaty of Nice. The Andrew Moravcsik's approach, liberal intergovernmentalism, structures an analysis of a treaty reform like the Treaty of Nice. Some of the criticisms concern the first stage, the formation of national preferences. According to Moravcsik, the main explanation of national preferences is that economic actors make demands to the politicians. Criticisms concerning the second stage include assumptions about the negotiation process which is based on the so-called Nash bargaining solutions (Beach, 2002). Such an approach downgrades the importance of specific institutional aspects of the negotiations, including the role of EU-level institutions, especially the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council Secretariat. Concerning the explanation of institutional choice in liberal intergovernmentalism, i.e. credible commitments, there have been fewer explicit criticisms. But scholars who question the rationality assumption of liberal intergovernmentalism ask about the role of norms and ideas at this stage, too.

Keywords: Andrew Moravcsik; bargaining process; Council Secretariat; EU-level institutions; European Parliament; liberal intergovernmentalism; treaty of Nice



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