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Investigation of informal trilogue negotiations since the Lisbon Treaty – Added value, lack of transparency and possible democratic deficit

This study focuses on the use of trilogues and early agreements in the European Union (EU). Today, trilogues form the standard operating procedure for reaching agreements between the European Commission, European Parliament, and the Council of the EU. The use of trilogues has long raised concerns about public transparency and accountability. Much has already been done to improve the way in which each institution’s negotiating team is held accountable to their respective institutions. However, there is still scope for improving the transparency of trilogue meetings. The purpose of this study is three-fold. First, we provide an overview of the recent developments in the use of trilogue meetings to reach early agreements. We provide a detailed descriptive statistical overview of the use of early agreements to conclude legislation in the period of 1999 to 2016, negotiated under the ordinary legislative procedure. Second, we analyse EU policy initiatives taken in the areas of transparency and accountability. Third, we suggest several avenues for improving the transparency and accountability of trilogues. The study draws on an extensive review of both academic and non-academic literature on the use of trilogues and early agreements. We also present some new quantitative and qualitative data to shed light on the use of trilogues and early agreements.

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Investigation of informal trilogue negotiations since the Lisbon Treaty – Added value, lack of transparency and possible democratic deficit