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Trilogues in council: disrupting the diplomatic culture?

Brandsma, Gijs Jan; Dionigi, Maja K.; Greenwood, Justin; Roederer-Rynning, Christilla


Gijs Jan Brandsma

Maja K. Dionigi

Justin Greenwood

Christilla Roederer-Rynning


This article explores the institutionalization of trilogues in the Council. What kind of practices have emerged in the Council to underpin this body’s participation in trilogues, and how do these shape the decision-making culture in the Council? We conceptualize the institutionalization of trilogues in the Council using delegation theory, and particularly through the lens of two ideal-types of delegation focusing on sanctions and selection, respectively. We explore these ideal-types by drawing on extensive elite interviews. Following the distinction between mandating, monitoring, and sanctioning common to delegation relationships, we find the greatest changes in the mandating and monitoring of the Presidency, and few changes in the sanctioning processes. This shows that the sanctions model is on the rise. We find that trilogues have changed the Council as a legislative institution.


BRANDSMA, G.J., DIONIGI, M.K., GREENWOOD, J. and ROEDERER-RYNNING, C. 2021. Trilogues in council: disrupting the diplomatic culture? Journal of European public policy [online], 28(1): inside the 'black box' of EU legislative trilogues, pages 10-31. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 27, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 24, 2020
Publication Date Jan 31, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 3, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 3, 2020
Journal Journal of European public policy
Print ISSN 1350-1763
Electronic ISSN 1466-4429
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 1
Pages 10-31
Keywords Ordinary legislative procedure; Trilogues; Council of the EU; Accountability; Ideal-type analysis
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