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Black boxes and open secrets: trilogues as 'politicized diplomacy'.

Roederer-Rynning, Christilla; Greenwood, Justin


Christilla Roederer-Rynning

Justin Greenwood


How can we explain the puzzling contrast between formal rules of open EU lawmaking and the practice of secluded trilogues? This question, arising against growing public controversy, points to a blind spot in the scholarly agenda on trilogues, which has overwhelmingly focused on their internal games. Drawing on the interpretivist tradition, we argue that rules are shaped by tradition and the dilemmas arising from conflicting beliefs and lived experiences. On this basis and drawing on extensive interview material, we argue that: 1) the vagaries of EU lawmaking can best be understood through the concept of ‘politicized diplomacy’; 2) a new tradition arose in support of seclusion, around the core belief of protecting the ‘space to think’; and 3) institutionalized contradictions, together with ideological tensions and ambiguous lessons from the lived experience of EU lawmakers have turned trilogues into a permeable institution, while prompting renewed public demands for transparency.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal West European politics
Print ISSN 0140-2382
Electronic ISSN 1743-9655
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Institution Citation ROEDERER-RYNNING, C. and GREENWOOD, J. [2020]. Black boxes and open secrets: trilogues as 'politicized diplomacy'. West European politics [online], (accepted).
Keywords Ordinary legislative procedure; Trilogues; Seclusion; Interpretive research; Politicized diplomacy

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