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The culture of trilogues.

Roederer-Rynning, Christilla; Greenwood, Justin


Christilla Roederer-Rynning

Justin Greenwood


There is surprisingly little knowledge about the informal 'trilogues' that play a pivotal role in almost 90 per cent of European Union legislation. This article maps out previously uncharted practices and explores their role in constituting the Parliament and Council as legislators. It proceeds by taking stock of the knowledge that actors in Parliament, the Council and the Commission have acquired and use to make sense of, and act in, trilogues. Our findings qualify the widespread belief that trilogues have drawn Parliament into unfamiliar territory of diplomatic culture, at a cost to political efficacy and democratic functions. Trilogues today are underpinned by norms, standard operating procedures and practices linking formal and informal institutions. They have imparted Parliament with a sharpened consciousness of its role and identity as a 'normal' parliament, while leaving the Council frustrated and less confident. Parliament has seen in norms of public accountability a means to develop leverage over the Council.


ROEDERER-RYNNING, C. and GREENWOOD, J. 2015. The culture of trilogues. Journal of European public policy [online], 22(8), pages 1148-1165. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 12, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 12, 2015
Publication Date Aug 31, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 24, 2017
Journal Journal of European public policy
Print ISSN 1350-1763
Electronic ISSN 1466-4429
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 8
Pages 1148-1165
Keywords Codecision; Council of the European Union; Early agreements; European Parliament; Interinstitutional relations
Public URL


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