Department of Political Science

Daniel Finke

Underneath the culture of consensus: Transparency, credible commitments and voting in the Council of Ministers

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The Council of Ministers rarely records negative individual votes, much less rejected proposals. The literature explains this high level of support by the Council’s ’culture of consensus’ and the few negative votes are explained as signalling to the domestic audience. We introduce an alternative explanation for ministers’ explicit disagreement: during the negotiations preceding the final vote, ministers issue veto threats. To remain credible in the future, they must be prepared to carry through with their threats if their demands are not met. To test our argument, we specify domestic level conditions that enable the minister to issue credible, strategic threats in the first place. Furthermore, we introduce domestic level scrutiny as a proxy for the transparency of EU level negotiations. We find that the effect of strategic threats is strong for those cases which are not under domestic level scrutiny (low transparency). By contrast, we find no effect of strategic threats for cases which are under domestic level scrutiny (high transparency).
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Union Politics
Pages (from-to)339-361
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Council of Ministers, Legislative Behaviour, Council of Ministers

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