European Union External Trade Policy: Multilevel Principal–Agent Relationships

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European Union External Trade Policy: MultilevelPrincipalAgent RelationshipsM. Shawn Reichert and Bernadette M. E. JungblutThis article examines the potential political inuences on European Union (EU) external trade poli-cymaking. Given the EUs volume of international trade and its extensive involvement in bilateral andmultilateral trade arrangements, a better understanding of how the EU makes external trade policy isincreasingly important. It is an extremely complex processinvolving the EU public, the 25 memberstates parliaments and governments, and the institutions of the EU, including the Council of Minis-ters, the European Parliament, and the European Commission. It is a system of multilevel governancewith overlapping jurisdictions with numerous potential access points for societal interests to inuenceEuropean external trade policy. In this article, we evaluate the probable political channels that societalinterests could use to inuence EU external trade policy. We employ the principalagent (PA)framework to examine ve of the more important PA relationships that are likely to inuence EUexternal trade policymaking. We conclude that EU policymaking as it pertains to external trade is quiteinsulated from general public pressures. The primary institutions involved in external trade policy-making are the EU Council of Ministers and the Commissionboth of which are largely insulated fromthe public. Future empirical work should focus on this relationship between the Council of Ministersand the Commission.Trade policy throughout the developed countries is increasingly characterizedas an area of contentious politics. One need only think of the numerous antiglobal-ization protests and vociferous calls for more transparent policy to see that there isa transnational movement to make trade and other areas of international economicpolicy move amenable to democratic pressures. Other than taking to the streets, whatare the other avenues for exerting democratic inuence on trade policy? We thinkthat principalagent (PA) theory is especially useful as a means to assess avenuesfor democratic inuence and the likelihood of success in inuencing policy. Othershave assessed European Union (EU) external trade policy in terms of political legiti-macy in more detail (see Meunier, 2003; Meunier & Nicoladis, 2000).1 We are notevaluating legitimacy as such, but rather paths of democratic inuence. Our assess-ment is more aligned with that of Lords (2004) comprehensive democratic audit ofthe European Union than it is of the democratic legitimacy of a specic policy area.EU is, by many measures, one of the most important players on todaysinternational trade scene. The EU is the largest trader of both goods andThe Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 35, No. 3, 20073950190-292X 2007 The Policy Studies JournalPublished by Blackwell Publishing. Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, and 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ.servicesaccounting for approximately 19 percent of world trade in goods andabout 24 percent of world trade in services (Europa, 2006).2 In addition to the sheervolume of EU trade with the rest of the world, EU has numerous bilateral andmultilateral trade arrangements with scores of other states across all regions of theglobe (Europa, 2006).3Given its volume of international trade and its extensive involvement in dyadic,regional, and global trade arrangements, an improved understanding of how the EUmakes external trade policy is increasingly important. Some may argue that tradepolitics lies outside the normal concerns of citizens and thus does not need to beanalyzed in terms of democratic politics. We think that the demonstrable effects oftrade on groups within countries, the obvious attempts by such groups to inuencepolicy, and the sheer volume of political pressures from the public clearly demon-strate that EU trade policy is a politicized area of policy and that it is therefore usefulto examine what are the channels by which the public can inuence the content oftrade agreements.EU external trade policy is an extremely complex processinvolving the EUpublic, the 25 member states parliaments and governments, and the institutions ofEU, including the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament (EP), the EuropeanCommission, and the European Court of Justice. It is a system of multilevel gover-nance with overlapping jurisdictions with numerous potential access points for soci-etal interests to inuence European external trade policy. The conventional wisdom,however, is that EU has a democratic decit, namely, that policymaking at the EUlevel is insulated from societal pressures. In this article, we evaluate the probablepolitical channels that societal interests could use to inuence EU external tradepolicy. We employ the PA framework to examine ve of the more importantrelationships that potentially inuence EU external trade policy decisionmaking.Figure 1 shows the chain of delegation in EU external trade policymaking andthe ve PA relationships assessed here. At the national level, these relationships are:(i) the Member State Publics (as principal) and the Member State Parliaments (asagent); (ii) the Member State Parliaments (as principal) and the Member StateThe publicEuropean parliament European commissionNational levelEuropean levelNational parliamentCouncil of ministersNational governmentsFigure 1. Chain of Delegation in EU External Trade Policy.396 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3Governments (as agent); (iii) at the nexus between the national level and theEuropean level is the PA relationship between the Member State Publics (principal)and the EP (agent); (iv) at the European level these PA relationships are: theMember State Governments/the EU Council of Ministers (principal) and the EUCommission (agent); and (v) the EP (principal) and the EU Commission (agent).Specically, we assess these principals ability to screen and select agents, tostructure incentives for those agents, to monitor agents either directly or indirectly,and to sanction agents. Doing so enables us to specify more clearly the responsibili-ties forand the political inuences onthe EUs external trade policymaking.Before we can undertake empirical analyses of the political inuences over EUexternal trade policy, we need to understand better the opportunity structureslinking interests to policy. The PA approach is especially appropriate for illuminat-ing these structures.The article proceeds as follows. In the rst section, we specify our theoreticalframework. In the second section, we investigate the channels linking the publics ofthe member states to the institutions of those member states (parliaments and gov-ernments), and then to the EU institutions. In the third section, we examine the linksamong those EU institutionsthe Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the EP.Finally, we offer our conclusions and some suggestions for future research.Theoretical FrameworkGovernance is the process by which society rules itself and since any society isa collection of individuals, this necessarily implies the delegation of authority fromindividuals to other individuals. Indeed, the very idea of a social contract is one ofdelegated authority. Put somewhat differently, governance is collective action, andcollective action necessarily implies organization, which in turn implies delegatedauthority.The concept of collective action also brings to mind a class of political phenom-ena known as collective action problems. According to Kiewiet and McCubbins(1991, pp. 2223), there are broadly three main types of collective action problems.The rst is some variant of prisoners dilemma in which an individual, or group,seeking the most benet from collective action with the least cost will often choosenot to contribute. Other individuals with similar preferences will likewise choose notto contribute, so the goal of collective action, a public good, is not produced. Thesecond type of collective action problem concerns the coordination of individualchoices into a single equilibrium collective choice. Often, more than one equilibriumchoice exists and it becomes necessary to have some process or mechanism in placethat is able to choose from among the different equilibria. Related to this is the thirdtype of collective action problem discussed by Kiewiet and McCubbins, collectivechoice instability. Instabilities arise because a decision rule, such as simple majority,may lead to cycling among different alternatives. A common example is that amajority prefers A to B, B to C, and C to A. The winner in this case is decided bythe order in which the alternatives are considered in pair-wise comparisons.Reichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 397All three types of collective action problems may be solved by organizationand/or institutional rules. For example, the problem of individuals not contributingfor the provision of a public good may be solved by contracting with a third partyto serve as an enforcer. Coordination problems and collective choice instability maybe solved by designating an agenda setter in advance who will determine the orderin which alternatives, and which alternatives, will be considered. Each solutionimplies the delegation of authority to a subset of the collective group or to a thirdparty.While delegation may help to solve problems of collective action and provide theopportunity for the gains from specialization of labor to be realized, delegation alsogives rise to a new set of problems. These are commonly known as PA problems.PA problems arise because the principal (the person or group who delegates)cannot absolutely guarantee that the agent (the person or group to whom authorityis delegated) will perform exactly as the principal wishes. An agent may havepreferences that differ from the principal, or the agent may wish to do as little aspossible for the principal while receiving maximum compensation. The situation isoften exacerbated because the agent possesses information or expertisefrom laborspecialization or other sourcesthat the principal does not also possess.There are four main mechanisms by which principals can mitigate PA problems(Kiewiet & McCubbins, 1991; McCubbins, Noll, & Weingast, 1987). The rst isselection/screeningby which the principal carefully vets the agent to ensure to thegreatest degree possible that the agent has preferences and goals similar to thoseheld by the principal. Second, the principal can design an incentive structure that tiesthe performance of the agent to the agents compensation. This implies the thirdmechanismthe careful monitoring of the agents performance. Finally, the princi-pal can design sanctions that impose some penalty on the agent for poor perfor-mance. Sanctions are, of course, the ip side of incentives; incentives are the carrot,while sanctions are the stick. While none of these solutions are costless, they canprovide the principal greater discretion over the performance of the agent.We use the presence, or absence, and the institutional form and structure ofselection/screening, incentives, monitoring, and sanction mechanisms (SIMS forshort) to evaluate ve PA relationships that exist in EU as they pertain to EUsexternal trade policy. As discussed in the introduction, EU is a very complex insti-tutional environment with numerous PA links in an Esheresque chain of democ-racy. While we examine only the top-most layer of the most visible politicalrelationships, we believe this approach is a necessary rst step to a more positive-empirical study of the political inuences on EUs external trade policy.Member State Publics (Principal) and Member State Parliaments (Agent)The most fundamental democratic relationship in the parliamentary systems ofEurope is that between the national publics and their national parliaments.4 It is inthe parliaments where citizens are most directly represented in the political processand it is for control of the parliament that most electoral efforts are concentrated.Unlike the United States, the relationship is not between an individual and their398 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3representative, but rather between an individual and their political party.5 TheEuropean democracies most closely approximate the ideal of the responsible partysystem by which parties are elected to enact certain policies and are rewarded orpunished accordingly (see Klingemann, Hofferbert, & Budge, 1994). The difcultyfor European citizens, as in any democratic system, is to coordinate on a vote choice.This difculty is directly related to district magnitude, the number of elected repre-sentatives per constituency (Cox, 1997), and the member states of EU differ widely inthe district magnitude of national elections between the UK and France with one,and the Netherlands with 150. Nevertheless, there are a number of features commonto democratic systems, which mitigate the PA problems between the representedand their representatives.Selection/ScreeningLiberal democracies are characterized by elections in which parties or indivi-duals compete for votes by offering different policy packages. While the competingparties may not be completely honest about their policy goals, political parties arelikely to advertise any policy differences, which may garner greater electoral supportor impose an electoral cost on opposition parties. That is, much of the informationcosts associated with selection are paid not by the public, but by the competitionamong political parties as agents. Presumably, citizens vote for the party that mostshares their policy preferences weighted by their probability of winning (Downs,1957).IncentivesMany of the successful theories of political party behavior start from theassumption that political parties seek ofce. Political ofce, in all of its forms andall that it entails, is the primary form of compensation citizens offer their repre-sentatives. The electoral calendar, however, is such that the compensation of ofceis offered prior to the performance of duties; ofce is in fact usually a prerequisitebefore political parties, as agents, can fulll their duties. There are other theories,of course, that make different assumptions regarding political party preferences.Some assume that parties are vote-maximizing organizations, while others assumethat parties primarily seek to inuence policy. As Strom (1990) points out in hisunied model, party behavior entails a trade-off between these three goals.Nevertheless, it is through votes that parties obtain ofce and by obtaining ofceare able to inuence policy. Therefore, it is the promise of ofce through whichcitizens provide an incentive for parties to pursue particular policies in a PArelationship.MonitoringThe national political environments of the member states of EU are characterizedby very high levels of political and economic information at a very low cost to theReichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 399citizens as consumers. Each country has a free and active press, and political com-petition ensures that opposition parties will trumpet any policy failures on the partof the governing parties. Put differently, police patrols and re alarms are in ampleabundance with the constant monitoring by the press and opposition parties as wellas the opportunity for injured societal interests to make their grievances publiclyknown at little cost (see McCubbins & Schwartz, 1984). Survey evidence demon-strates that individuals judge governments by their performance and respondaccordingly (Anderson, 1995; Lewis-Beck, 1990).SanctionsThe offer of political ofce is the incentive given to representatives by therepresented for pursuing particular policies. At regular intervals in national elec-tions, the represented, as principals, are given the opportunity to take the benets ofofce away from the representatives, as agentsto punish for poor performance. Thefrequency of government changes attest to the use of the electoral sanction.Assessment with Regard to EU External Trade PolicyThe publics of the member states can exercise extensive control over their par-liaments and have the advantages of an information-rich environment and the meansfor benecial compensation or costly sanction. In sum then, member state publics asprincipals have a relatively strong relationship vis--vis their member state parlia-ment agents in terms of selection and sanctioning. Member state publics haverelatively moderate abilities to offer incentives and to monitor their member stateparliament agents. However, this is not the same as having control over publicpolicy. There are intermediate PA links between public and national public policyand even more so between the publics of the member states and EU policy, includingexternal trade policy. It is necessary to examine these intermediate links beforejudging the publics control over trade policy.Member State Parliaments (Principal) and Member State Governments (Agent)One of the common elements of the democratic systems of the member states ofEU is a parliamentary system of government in which the executive is chosen by thelegislature and (often) depends upon the legislatures support to continue in ofce.Similar to the vote coordination problem experienced by citizens in elections, politi-cal parties represented in the legislature must coordinate to form a government thathas majority support in the legislative assembly. In a system such as the UnitedKingdom, this is a relatively straightforward process because the predominance oftwo main political parties coupled with the single-member district system tends toproduce a ruling party that commands a majority of seats in the legislature. In asystem such a Belgium, the government formation process is much less straightfor-ward and the coordination problems much greater. A large, and rigorous, literaturehas grown around this question of government formation (see, e.g., Laver &400 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3Schoeld, 1990). We discuss the PA relationship between parliaments and govern-ments in terms of one of the more recent theories of government formation, Laverand Shepsles (1996) portfolio allocation theory of coalitions.Legislatures are collectives, and as such, experience collective action problemssuch as coordination and choice instabilities that must be addressed through orga-nization and institutional rules. In the U.S. Congress, the committee structure andparty system have been found to be the two primary institutional responses to thecollective action problems of that institution (see Weingast, 1989). In the parliamen-tary democracies of EU, government formation provides an additional means ofalleviating similar problems. A simplied version of Laver and Shepsles (1996)theory of coalitions is that political parties contract with one another to pursueparticular policies while in ofce as a multiparty government. A key componentof the contract design is ministerial discretion. Particular political parties areassigned, or win, particular policy portfolios such as nance or agriculture. While incharge of that portfolio, the minister as an agent of his or her political party exercisesdiscretion over what policies are considered within his or her ministrys jurisdiction.That is, holding a ministry grants a political party agenda-setting and gatekeepingpower within that ministrys jurisdiction. As the occupant of a particular ministry,a minister can largely determine what policy proposals will be considered withinthat jurisdiction by either proposing a policy or refusing to consider an alternativeproposal.Selection/ScreeningAccording to the portfolio allocation theory of government formation, membersof parliaments acting through their political parties have considerable informationabout the likely policy positions that will be adopted by proposed ministers, termedministrables by Laver and Shepsle (1999). While the ministrables may not nec-essarily represent a political partys median voter (Laver & Shepsle, 1999, p. 40), themembers of parliament can predict the probable policy positions of a proposedgovernment and vote accordingly in the government formation process. In short,parliaments have considerable discretion over which political parties and policypositions are represented in the governments of the EU member states.IncentivesMinisterial ofce represents a political ofce of a much higher magnitude thanjust being elected to parliament. While the general public has considerable say overwho obtains parliamentary ofce, the members of parliament are the primary deter-minant of which parties and individuals obtain ministerial ofce. Like parliamentaryelections, however, members of parliament, as the principal, compensate othermembers with government ofce before the ministers, as agents, perform the dutiesfor which they were selected.Reichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 401MonitoringOne of the oft-noted side effects of European integration is the further erosion ofthe power of parliaments in favor of the executives (Weiler, Haltern, & Mayer, 1995).The secrecy and intergovernmental nature of decision making in the Council ofMinisterswhere the government ministers of the member states meet collectivelyand make decisionshas made it more difcult for the national parliaments tomonitor and control the actions of their respective governments at the Europeanlevel. The national legislatures, however, have not been dormant but rather havestarted a process of institutional evolution to allow them to adapt to Europeanintegration. In particular, the parliaments of each member state have establishedEuropean Affairs Committees with explicit mandates to monitor the activities of thegovernments at the European level (Raunio & Hix, 2001). Also, the standing com-mittees are more likely to deliberate on European affairs (Raunio, 1999; Raunio &Hix, 2001).SanctionsThe national parliaments have two main sanction tools at their disposal to wieldagainst governments that fail to perform, at the European level, according to thewishes of a parliament. First, parliamentary systems are dened by the fact that theexecutive, government, needs the support of a majority in the parliament to gainofce and to retain ofce. It can be blunt tool, but parliaments can pass motions of nocondence against wayward governments and thus oust them from ofce.6 Second,a government needs the support of a majority in the parliament to pass legislation.Decisions at the European level almost always have to be implemented at the nationallevel; European laws need to be transposed into national laws before the laws can takeeffect. Parliaments can withhold this support and thus undo agreements reached atthe European level by their respective governments.Assessment with Regard to EU External Trade PolicyThe parliaments of the member states have considerable discretion over themembership of their respective governments and therefore over the probable policyproposals of the governments, including EU trade policy. Monitoring of governmentactions, however, is made difcult by the insulated nature of decision making in theCouncil of Ministers where the governments collectively negotiate the Councilsposition in the EUs policymaking process. The movement of some of the EUs tradepolicy to an exclusively European level also makes it more difcult for the parlia-ments to withhold support on enacting legislation, thus removing one of the mainsanction alternatives from consideration. EU policy is a multilevel game in whichnational parliaments are one of many actors and one in which the national parlia-ments do not have their traditional privileged position in the policy process. In sumthen, member state parliaments as principals have a relatively strong relationshipvis--vis their member state government agents in terms of selection and sanctioning.402 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3Member state parliaments have relatively moderate abilities to offer incentives and tomonitor their member state government agents.Member State Publics (Principal) and the EP (Agent)The EP is the only directly elected supra-national legislature in the world. Itcurrently has 732 members from the 25 member states representing over 120 nationalpolitical parties, which are in turn organized into party groups.7 The EP has experi-enced ve direct elections since 1979 and has undergone several periods of institu-tional evolution from mere political talking shop to a more active legislature withveto and amendment powers. Despite the obtainment of increasing legislativepowers, declining voter turnout has marked each successive European election.Rather than becoming the central legitimizing process of the EU as envisioned by theproponents of direct elections, the European elections continue to be characterizedas second-order elections (Reif & Schmitt, 1980; Van der Eijk & Franklin, 1996)used to pass judgment on the parties in government rather than to inuenceEuropean-level politics. Survey evidence has shown that citizens of the memberstates tend to think that their national governments and parliaments are moreresponsive than the EP to their demands and possess more political power at theEuropean level (Blondel, Sinnot, & Svenson, 1998). Nevertheless, the EP is the mostdirect path for the general publics to inuence European-level policymaking.Selection/ScreeningUnlike national elections, the electoral periods preceding European elections donot provide a great deal of information about what policies will be pursued if a voterchooses a particular political party. Although the party groups of the EP do createcommon manifestoes that are to apply to the national party delegations that aremembers of the party groups, the European elections are not fought on these issues.Rather, the elections are national referenda on national governments and politics, notEuropean politics (Reif & Schmitt, 1980; Van der Eijk & Franklin, 1996). Furthermore,the European electoral process may differ from the national electoral process andcontribute to greater confusion among voters.8 This can seriously mitigate the rela-tionship between voter and representative, and thus, between public as principaland the EP as agent.IncentivesAs in national political systems, political ofce is the primary form of compen-sation citizens offer their representatives in the EP. Also, like in national politicalsystems, the compensation of ofce is offered prior to the performance of the dutiesfor which the members of the EP are engaged in a PA contract. In terms ofrepresentation, it is very much a question of whether one conceives of the relation-ship between voter and representative as one in which the voter grants a mandate orReichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 403whether the voter grants ofce after a retrospective evaluation of performance(Manin, Przeworski, & Stokes, 1999).At this stage of the PA relationship the conceptof representation is that of a mandate.MonitoringWhile the EPs seats in Strasbourg and Brussels may, or may not, be far from thehomeland, it is a world away from the national political arena. In part, this is becauseEuropean affairs are not covered by a European press, but rather by national pressesthat may not be willing to expend the resources necessary to cover daily Europeanparliamentary affairs (see Kuhn, 1997). A different means for European publics tomonitor their members in the EP could be provided by national political parties. Thenational parties, presumably, need to monitor MEPswho are agents for the nationalpartiesfor many of the same reasons as the general publics. While some work hasbeen done in this area which suggests an increased need for national political partymonitoring of MEPs (e.g., Raunio, 2000; Scully, 2000), research suggests that MEPsretain signicant independence from the national political parties (Raunio, 2000).While MEPs are not free agents, they are not closely monitored either. All of whichmeans that it is difcult for the citizens of the member states to monitor theirmembers in the EP; the information costs are quite high.SanctionsAs in national politics, the primary sanction tool the publics can wield againstMEPs is to vote them out of ofce once their term expires. The dynamics of selectionand monitoring, however, suggest that MEPs are more likely to be removed fromofce for the sins of their party at home than for their actions at the European level.Nevertheless, this is where the accountability concept of representation is mostprevalent (Manin et al., 1999).Assessment with Regard to EU External Trade PolicyThe EP presents the most direct route for the general publics of the memberstates to inuence Europes external trade policy. The major obstacle to the publicsavailing themselves of this path is the lack of information. The publics do not possessenough information on the European-level policy stances of the competing parties atthe selection stage, must compensate the MEPs as agents prior to contract fulll-ment, and are generally unable to monitor and assess the activities of their Euro-pean parliamentary agents. In short, an examination of the relationship between theEuropean public, writ large, and the EP suggests that this is not the most efcaciouschannel for societal interests to inuence European external trade policy. Memberstate publics as principals are only weakly able to inuence the selection, incentives,monitoring, and sanctioning of their EP agent.404 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3European Institutions: The Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the EPIn the next three sections, we briey describe the three main types of externaltrade policy arrangements to which EU can be party. We then summarize the poli-cymaking roles of the Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the EP under thesethree external trade policy arrangements, as delineated by the various EU treaties.We then use the SIMS framework employed earlier to describe both the memberstate governments/Council of Ministers to EU Commission PA relationship andthe EP to EU Commission PA relationship generally, and in the context of externaltrade policymaking.External Trade Policymaking by the EU InstitutionsAlthough there are several EU institutions involved in fashioning external tradepolicy, the Commission and the Council of Ministers are the two primary institutionsresponsible for what the founding Treaty of Rome calls the Common CommercialPolicy (CCP). The EP does play a role in external trade policymaking, butat leastthus farhas played a much more limited role than either the Council of Ministersor the Commission. As is discussed later, however, the ability of the Parliament toinuence future trade negotiations may be on the rise because of the likely subjectmatter of those negotiations.There are three main types of external trade policy arrangements into which theEU may enter: trade agreements falling under the purview of the CCP, trade andeconomic cooperation agreements, and association agreements (Nugent, 1999,pp. 44041). Article 113, Section 1 of the Treaty of Rome (or Article 133, as amendedby subsequent treaties)9 stipulates the following:The common commercial policy shall be based on uniform principles, par-ticularly in regard to changes in tariff rates, the conclusion of tariff and tradeagreements, and the achievement of uniformity in measures of liberalization,export policy, and measures to protect trade such as those to be taken in caseof dumping and subsidies (Basic Community Laws, Rudden & Wyatt, 1996).Much to the chagrin of the trade negotiating body, theCommission, the EuropeanCourt of Justice has interpreted this section ofArticle 133 (formerly 113) to mean thattrade agreements pertain primarily to trade in goodsand, in particular, not totrade in services (GATS) nor to trade-related aspects of international property (TRIPS)(Dinan, 1999, pp. 48586; Nugent, 1999, p. 441; Woolcock, 2000, p. 377).10 The Commis-sion has arguedand continues to arguethat GATS and TRIPS should fall withinthe purview of Article 133 (formerly 113), especially because international tradenegotiations increasingly focus on these aspects rather than trade in goods. The TreatyofAmsterdam, effective May 1, 1999, provides that the Council of Ministers maybyunanimous decisionauthorize the Commission to negotiate GATS and TRIPS mat-ters.11 The more general requirement that the Council authorize the Commission toengage in external trade negotiations will be discussed further later.Reichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 405Trade and economic cooperation agreements differ from trade agreements inthat they are concluded under the auspices of Article 133 (formerly 113) and otherArticlemost frequently Article 300 (formerly 228)12 and Article 181 (formerly130y).13 These agreements typically involve some form of development assistanceand preferential access to EU markets for the partner state(s) in exchange, forexample, for meeting democratization or human rights criteria (Nugent, 1999,p. 441). Article 310 (formerly 238)14 forms the basis for association agreementswhich usually provide access to EU markets and other benets, including perhaps,future EU membership. (Nugent, 1999, pp. 44142).The Council of Ministers, Commission, and EP have different policymakingroles depending on the type of agreement to be concludedCCP trade agreement,trade and economic cooperation agreement, or association agreement.According to Article 133 (formerly 113), Sections 2, 3, and 4, CCP trade agree-ments are to be undertaken as follows:2. The Commission shall submit proposals to the Council for implementingthe common commercial policy (CCP).3. Where agreements with one or more States or international organizationsneed to be negotiated, the Commission shall make recommendations to theCouncil, which shall authorize the Commission to open the necessary nego-tiations. The Commission shall conduct these negotiations in consultationwith a special committee appointed by the Council to assist the Commissionin this task and within the framework of such directives as the Council mayissue to it. The relevant provisions of Article 228 (or Article 300, as amendedby subsequent treaties)15 shall apply.4. In exercising the powers conferred upon it by this Article, the Councilshall act by a qualied majority (Basic Community Laws, Rudden & Wyatt,1996).Note that this delegates CCP authority to the Council and the Commission andprovides no formal involvement for the EP in CCP agreements. Indeed, the relevantsection (3) of Article 300 (formerly 228) stipulates that the Council of Ministers is notcompelled to consult the Parliament concerning CCP trade agreements:The Council shall conclude the agreements after consulting the EuropeanParliament, except for the agreements referred to in Article 113(3), includingcases where the agreement covers a eld for which the procedure referred toin Article 189b [the codecision procedure] or that referred to in Article189c [the cooperation procedure] is required for the adoption of internalrules. The European Parliament shall deliver its Opinion within a time limitwhich the Council may lay down according to the urgency of the matter. Inthe absence of an Opinion within that time limit, the Council may act. By wayof derogation from the previous subparagraph, agreements referred to in[Article 310, formerly 238] [association agreements], other agreements estab-lishing a specic institutional framework by organizing cooperation proce-dures [trade and economic cooperation agreements], agreements having406 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3important budgetary implications for the Community, and agreementsentailing amendment of an act adopted under the procedure referred to inArticle 189b [the codecision procedure] shall be concluded after the assent ofthe European Parliament has been obtained (Basic Community Laws, Rudden& Wyatt, 1996, emphasis and bracketed comments added).As Article 300 (formerly 228) delineates, however, the Parliament does have asignicant role to play in trade and economic cooperation agreements and associa-tion agreements. Namely, the Parliament must grant its assent to these agreementsbefore they can be concluded by the Council and implemented by the Commission.16Note that in addition to these two types of agreements, Parliaments assent is alsorequired for agreements with important budgetary implications and agreements thatrevise or amend measures adopted by the Council of Ministers and Parliament viathe codecision procedure. Thus, while the Parliament may have little direct inuenceover the more typical CCP agreements, it can and does wield inuence over othertypes of external trade agreementsand may be able to inuence certain types ofCCP agreements that affect the EUs budget or that affect measures adoptedpreviously by codecision.Member State Governments/the EU Council of Ministers (Principal) andthe EU Commission (Agent)Selection/ScreeningThe 25 EU member state governments collectively choose the 25 EuropeanCommissioners. Although this selection is not done formally through the Council ofMinisters because the Council of Ministers is the EU institution directly representingthe member state governments, it is essentially equivalent to the member stategovernments. Indeed, the people who comprise the member state governments arethe same people who sit on the Council of Ministers.17 Therefore, it can be assumedthat the Council of Ministers screens and selects the Commission. Crombez (2000),for instance, has produced a spatial model of Commission appointment in whichpossible Commissions are proposed and either accepted or rejected based on thepolicy preferences of the member state governments.The Commission, however, is appointed for a ve-year termwhich canpresent difculties for member states that undergo changes in government duringthat ve-year period. While the initial Commission appointments can be expectedto reect the partisan composition of the member state governments, subsequentchanges in those member state governments (either through new elections or coa-lition reformations) may result in divided governmentwhere the memberstates new governments partisan composition may differ from that of the previ-ously appointed commissioners. Thus, member state and Council of Ministersprincipals may nd themselves stuck with Commissioner agents they have notvetted.Reichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 407IncentivesUnlike the incentive structures of, for example, PA relations in the corporateworld, there are no performance-based compensation schemes (such as protsharing) that can induce Commissioners to act in accordance with the preferences ofthe member state governments and, correspondingly, the Council of Ministers.Rather, the Commissioners are provided their compensation a prioriby their veryappointment. However, because incentives and sanctions can be thought of as oppo-site sides of the same coin, Commissioners who stray from the preferred policies ofthe member state governments and the Council of Ministers may unlikely be reap-pointed at the end of their ve-year term. If we can assume that Commissioners holdofce-seeking and/or policy goals, we can assume that they will desire reappoint-ment. Even if Commissioners do not want reappointment to the Commission, theymay want to seek ofce and/or inuence policy at the national level when theirCommission term expires.Despite any ofce-seeking or policy goals that Commissioners may have, itshould be noted that they are supposed to be independent entitiesthere to repre-sent the broad interests of EU as a wholeand not the particular interests of themember states that appointed them.18 In terms of external trade policymaking,however, those member states, in the form of the Council of Ministers, have apowerful means of attempting to ensure incentive compatibility on the part of theCommission. As noted earlier, although Article 133 (formerly 113) empowers theCommission to propose to the Council that it be authorized to engage in a particulartrade negotiation, such authorization must be granted before the Commission canproceed. Again, for negotiations concerning trade in goods, a qualied majority voteof the Council is necessary to authorize the Commission to engage in negotiations.Since the Treaty of Amsterdam took effect, a unanimous vote of the Council isrequired to authorize the Commission to engage in GATS or TRIPS negotiations. Oneway of ensuring incentive compatibility is for the Council to refrain from authorizingthe Commission to engage in any trade negotiations where the Council suspects theCommission might stray too far from the Councils preferences. Furthermore, notonly does the Council authorize the Commission to engage in negotiations, it canalso issue directives specifying the form and content of those negotiations. Thisprovides an additional means of attempting to ensure incentive compatibilitybetween the Council and the Commission.MonitoringWith the resources of the EU bureaucracy at its disposal (the directorates generaland the specialized departments in Brussels and Luxembourg) and the derivativeexpertise and institutional memory, the Commission may have informational advan-tages over the Council of Ministers. With regard to external trade policymaking,however, the Council of Ministers is able to engage in direct (police patrol) over-sight of the Commission that may mitigate the Commissions information advan-tages. Article 133 (formerly 113) authorizes the Council to appoint a special408 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3committeewhich has come to be known as the Article 113 Committeeto assistthe Commission during the course of the trade negotiations. The Article 113 Com-mittee is typically composed of national trade ofcials and serves as a conduit ofinformation between the Council of Ministers and the Commission. Although notimpossible, the existence of the Article 113 Committee makes it more difcult for theCommission to engage in hidden acts or retain hidden information (Kiewiet &McCubbins, 1991, p. 25) from the Council of Ministers. This is simply one example ofthe system of comitology that has been developed as a means for the Council ofMinisters to monitor the activities of the Commission (see Franchino, 2000; Pollack,1997).SanctionsThe primary, albeit rather blunt, sanction the Council of Ministers has overthe Commission is the Councils right to reject a trade agreement negotiated by theCommission. For those trade agreements requiring unanimous approval by theCouncil, such as association agreements underArticle 310 (formerly 238), GATS, andTRIPS agreements, it takes only one Council member to invoke this sanction. Inaddition to outright rejecting the proposed trade agreement, the Council of Ministerscan issue new directives to the Commission as trade negotiations proceed. Thus, ifduring the course of the negotiations, the Commission acts in a way counter to thepreferences of the Council of Ministers, the Council can redirect the Commission.As noted earlier, perhaps the ultimate sanction the member states (and, by extension,the Council of Ministers) may employ against the Commission is opting not toreappoint Commissioners at the end of their ve-year terms.Assessment with Regard to EU External Trade PolicyOverall, in terms of EU external trade policymaking, the member state govern-ments in the form of the EU Council of Ministers (as principal) are able to exercisestrong selection and monitoring of the EU Commission as agent. In terms ofincentives and sanctioning, however, the EU Council of Ministers has a relativelymoderate ability to exercise control over the EU Commission as principal.The EP (Principal) and the EU Commission (Agent)Selection/ScreeningThe 25 members of the European Commission, although appointed by the EUmember states, are subject to vetting by the members of the EP and must be con-rmed by the Parliament (by simple majority vote) before being sworn in. Althoughthe EP has threatened to veto any proposed Commission that did not reect thepartisan composition of the EP, this has not occurred. To date, the EP still does notReichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 409exercise much control over who does, and does not, get selected as commissioners.The EP, however, is trying to obtain greater control through the recent debates on theEU institutions.IncentivesAs discussed under the Member State Governments/Council of Ministers toEuropean Commission PA relationship, the compensation scheme for Commis-sioners is ex antethe compensation is the appointment itself. As such, there is littleto induce sitting Commissioners to act in accordance with the preferences of the EP.MonitoringThe EP can monitor the Commission both directly (police patrol oversight)and indirectly (re alarm oversight) (McCubbins & Schwartz, 1984). The Parlia-ment has permanent committees (e.g., the External Economic Relations Committee)19and can also appoint temporary committees of inquiry.20 In addition, the Parliamentreceives numerous periodic reports from the Commission, can request additionalreports,21 and can submit written and oral questions to the Commission.22 Finally, theParliament can and does send MEP delegates to trade negotiations as observers.23Although not impossible, the existence of the permanent and temporary committees,the authority to ask questions and compel answers, and MEP attendance at tradenegotiations all make it more difcult for the Commission to engage in hidden actsor retain hidden information (Kiewiet & McCubbins, 1991, p. 25) from the Parlia-ment.24 In terms of indirect (re alarm) oversight, the Parliament appoints anombudsman. EU citizens and groups can complain to the ombudsman about theactions of the Commissionthus alerting the Parliament.25SanctionsThe primary sanction the EP has over the Commission is its right to censure, thatis, to force the Commission (en masse) to resign. Far weaker sanctions include theParliaments right to issue opinions, declarations, and resolutions.26 These measuresallow the Parliament to voice its displeasure with measures taken by the Commis-sion during the proposal phase and course of trade negotiations. In addition, theParliament can refuse to grant assent to some external trade agreements negotiatedby the Commission. As noted ealier, Parliaments assent is required to enact tradeand economic cooperation agreements (because of the institutional changes theseagreements usually necessitate), association agreements, other trade agreementswith the potential seriously to affect the EUs budget and institutional structure, andagreements that would revise or amend previous measures (EU legislation) enactedunder the codecision procedure.410 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3Assessment with Regard to EU External Trade PolicyOverall, in terms of EU external trade policymaking, the EP (as principal) isable to exercise only weak selection and incentives over the EU Commission asagent. In terms of monitoring and sanctioning, however, the EP has a strongeralbeit only moderateability to exercise control over the EU Commission asprincipal.ConclusionAssessment of PA Relationships Linking European Publics toEuropean External Trade PolicyThe goal of this article was to evaluate the probable political channels thatsocietal interests would use to inuence EU external trade policy. We adopted aPA framework because PA theory explicitly addresses the issue of how muchdiscretion a group delegating authority has over the party to whom authority isdelegated. Put differently, the PA approach allows us to assess how much discre-tion societal interests have over European trade policy. While the general publics ofthe EUs member states may be the ultimate principal, there is no direct linkbetween these publics and a single agent responsible for policy. Rather, in the EUcontext, there are multiple levels of PA relationships from the national level to theEuropean level, and there are additional PA relationships between the major EUinstitutional actors. Given this complexity, we examined each of ve major PArelationships in turn.Looking at the links between the publics of the member states and theinstitutions at the EU level, we found that the most direct channel was providedby the direct elections to the EP. The high information costs associated with screen-ing and monitoring, however, reduce the utility of the EP as a channel for politicalinuence on European policy. The context of the relationship between the publicsand the national parliaments, however, is much richer in information. The publicsenjoy considerable discretion over the membership of national parlia-ments through the electoral process. The publics, however, are only indirectlylinked to the executive governments that formulate and execute public policies.The insulated nature of the Council of Ministers, where the governments collec-tively meet, makes it more difcult for their principals in the national parliamentsto monitor them, and therefore, more difcult for the general publics to exercisecontrol over the policy decisions of the national governments at the Europeanlevel.In sum, EU policymaking as it pertains to trade seems quite insulated fromgeneral public pressures. While it would be going much too far to say that the agentsresponsible for making EU external trade policy are free agents, it would not betoo much to state that the general publics have very little discretionary control overthe actions of these agents.Reichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 411Assessment of P-A Relationships Linking European Institutions toEuropean External Trade PolicyTurning to the PA links among the major policymaking institutions at theEuropean level, we nd that the EP has largely been marginalized in the formulationof the EUs external trade policy. There is good reason to think, however, that thiscondition is changing as present and future EU trade agreements overlap furtherand further into other policy areas already governed by EU law, such as the envi-ronment. These multiple-issue-area trade deals will require the EPs approvalthrough the codecision procedure and are more likely to bring the EP into the policyformulation stage, rather than just being able to vote upon a fait accompli presentedto them by the Commission (and Council). This may prove to be consistent withMartins (2000) argument that executive negotiators may actively seek the involve-ment of their legislature because this allows for a much more credible commitmentwhen an agreement is reached with a third party. Nevertheless, the EP is currently amarginal actor in the realm of the EUs external trade policy.Using the PA approach, we conclude that the primary locus of EU policymak-ing in the area of trade is found at the fulcrum between the Council of Ministers andthe Commission. On the one hand, the Commission as an institution was designedin such a manner that the Commission enjoys very considerable independencefrom political pressures after the individual commissioners are appointed. On theother hand, the Council of Ministersacting on behalf of the member stategovernmentskeeps a very tight rein on the Commission in the trade policy area.Asnoted earlier, the presence of the Article 113 Committee indicates that the Commis-sion is under constant monitoring, police patrols.Also, as discussed previously, thepotential for the Council to alter the negotiating mandate at any time during theCommissions bargaining with third parties indicates that the Commissions prefer-ences can be kept aligned with those of the Council of Ministers.Concentrating on the PA relationship between the Council of Ministers and theCommission gives rise to very interesting PA problem. The Commission is a mul-timember agent acting on behalf of multiple, currently 25, principals. That is, therelationship between the Council and the Commission is an example of a commonagency problemone that we believe warrants future investigation.We found that in the area of trade policy, the EUs institutions are designed insuch a way as to diffuse or block democratic pressures from the general publics. First,democratic pressures seemed to be channeled toward national parliaments thatexercise much less control over national governments at the European level than atthe national level. Democratic pressure upon the EU institutions seemed to bechanneled toward the EP, which has been marginalized in the making of the EUsexternal trade policy. Second, the Commission is designed in such a way as tominimize political, that is, democratic, pressures on that institution. While the Com-mission can be, and is, lobbied, the normal selection and sanction method of generalelections do not exist for this institution; it is not democratically accountable. Theindirect election of the governments composing the Council of Ministersand theinsular nature of that institutional actoralso serve severely to limit public pressure412 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3through this channel. Table 1 summarizes our ndings across all ve PArelationshipsand across our SIMS framework.We do not conclude, however, that the making of the EUs external trade policyis completely depoliticized. Indeed, this article began with the assumption that theEUs trade policy may be heavily inuenced by political factors. Which politicalfactors inuence the EUs external trade policyand through what meansneed tobe investigated empirically and positively? Based upon the PA approach used inthis article, we think the most efcacious place to focus such an investigation is at theEuropean level between the Council of Ministers and the Commission.M. Shawn Reichert is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University ofCentral Florida.Bernadette M.E. Jungblut is Professer at the University of Central Florida.NotesThe authors would like to thank Ronald Rogowski and David Wilson for comments on an earlier versionof this article.1. De Bivre and Dr (2005) are an exception. Their article also applies a PA framework but while theirarticle investigates the scope of delegated powers by the Council of Ministers, our article provides anassessment of the full chain of democratic delegation from the public to the policymakers.2. Europa: The European Union Online. 2006. URL: Accessed January 2006.3. Europa: The European Union Online. 2006. URL: Accessed January 2006.4. France, of course, is a mixed presidentialparliamentary system, as are many of the Central andEastern European states that joined the EU on May 1, 2004.5. This is less true in the single-member district system of the United Kingdom (see Cain, Ferejohn, &Fiorina, 1987) but not less true in the French single-member district system.6. The United Kingdom and Finland, for example, differ in that the governments of either do notnecessarily have to resign if a condence vote is lost.Table 1. Summary of PrincipalAgent RelationshipsSelection, Incentives, Monitoring, and SanctionsPrincipalAgentRelationshipSelection Incentive Monitoring SanctionsMember state publics Member stateparliamentsStrong Moderate Moderate StrongMember state parliaments Member stategovernmentsStrong Moderate Moderate StrongMember state publics European parliamentWeak Weak Weak WeakMember stategovernments/EUCouncil of Ministers EU CommissionStrong Moderate Strong ModerateEuropean parliament EU CommissionWeak Weak Moderate ModerateReichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 4137. The party groups correspond to Duvergers notion of parliamentary parties and represent the majorparty families. The party groups are the principal component of the EPs internal organization.8. In the two most recent elections, for instance, the United Kingdom introduced multimember districts,which are a considerable divergence from the single-member district system used in national elec-tions. Likewise, France, which also uses single-member districts in its national elections, designatesthe whole country as a multimember district in European elections.9. Subsequent treaties have amended the initial treaties that created what today we call the EuropeanUnion. Throughout this article, we reference both the initial article number and the subsequent, thatis, the amended article number. There were three founding treaties signed by Belgium, Luxembourg,the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Italy: the Treaty establishing the European Coal and SteelCommunity, effective July 23, 1952; the Treaty establishing the European Community, effectiveJanuary 1, 1958; and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, also effectiveJanuary 1, 1958. These three treaties were subsequently amended as the EU enlarged (in 1973[Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom], 1981 [Greece], 1986 [Portugal and Spain], and 1995[Austria, Finland, and Sweden]). The following agreements also amended EU treaty law: the SingleEuropean Act, effective July 1, 1987; the Treaty on European Union (also known as the MaastrichtTreaty), effective November 1, 1993; and the Treaty of Amsterdam, effective May 1, 1999. The mostrecent amendments are included in the Treaty of Nice, signed February 26, 2001 and entered into forceon February 1, 2003. For example, Article 133 on the Common Commercial Policy has, with somequalications, extended qualied majority voting to some aspects of trade-related intellectual prop-erty matters and to trade in services. For more about these treaties, see Europa: the European UnionOnline. 2005. URL: and URL: Accessed January 2006.10. See ECJ Decision 1/1994 concerning the Competence of the Community to conclude internationalagreements concerning services and intellectual property.11. The Council of Ministers takes decisions by one of two methods: unanimity or qualied majorityvote (QMV). Prior to the ratication of the Nice Treaty, the QMV voting rule was such that 62 outof a possible 87 votes were required for the Council to pass a measure. Population determined theEU-15 member states assigned voting weights as follows: the largest countries, France, Germany,Italy, and the United Kingdom, each had 10 votes; the next largest state, Spain, had eight votes;Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, and Portugal each had ve votes; Austria and Sweden each hadfour votes; Denmark, Ireland, and Finland each had three votes; and Luxembourg had two votes.After Nice, there was substantial reweighting of votes in the Council of Ministers in anticipation ofthe 2004 enlargement to include 10 new member states from Central and Eastern Europe such thatthe largest countries now had 2729 votes apiece, the medium-sized countries had 1013 votes, andthe smaller countries had 37 votes each. A qualied majority was altered to 232 votes out of apossible 321.12. Article 300 (formerly 228) stipulates the following: 1. Where this treaty provides for the conclusion ofagreements between the Community and one or more States or international organizations, theCommission shall make recommendations to the Council, which shall authorize the Commission toopen the necessary negotiations. The Commission shall conduct these negotiations in consultationwith special committees appointed by the Council to assist it in this task and within the frameworkof such directives as the Council may issue to it. In exercising the powers conferred upon it by thisparagraph, the Council shall act by qualied majority, except in cases provided for in the secondsentence of paragraph 2, for which it shall act unanimously. 2. Subject to the powers vested in theCommission in this eld, the agreements shall be concluded by the Council, acting by a qualiedmajority on a proposal from the Commission. The Council shall act unanimously when the agreementcovers a eld for which unanimity is required for the adoption of internal rules, and for the agree-ments referred to in Article 238. 3. The Council shall conclude the agreements after consulting the EP,except for the agreements referred to in Article 113(3), including cases where the agreement covers aeld for which the procedure referred to in Article 189b (the codecision procedure) or that referred toin Article 189c (the cooperation procedure) is required for the adoption of internal rules. The EP shalldeliver its Opinion within a time limit which the Council may lay down according to the urgency ofthe matter. In the absence of an Opinion within that time limit, the Council may act. By way ofderogation form the previous subparagraph, agreements referred to in Article 238, other agreementsestablishing a specic institutional framework by organizing cooperation procedures, agreements414 Policy Studies Journal, 35:3having important budgetary implications for the Community and agreements entailing amendmentof an act adopted under the procedure referred to in Article 189b shall be concluded after the assentof the EP has been obtained (Basic Community Laws, Rudden & Wyatt, 1996).13. Article 181 (formerly 130y) stipulates the following: Within their respective spheres of competence,the Community and the Member States shall cooperate with third countries and with the competentinternational organizations. The arrangements for Community cooperation may be the subject ofagreements between the Community and the third parties concerned, which shall be negotiated andconcluded in accordance with Article 228. The previous paragraph shall be without prejudice toMember States competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude international agree-ments (Basic Community Laws, Rudden & Wyatt, 1996).14. Article 310 (formerly 238) stipulates the following: The Community may conclude with one or moreStates or international organizations agreements establishing an association involving reciprocalrights and obligations, common action, and special procedures (Basic Community Laws, Rudden &Wyatt, 1996).15. See endnote 7.16. A note of clarication is in order. There are several different procedures by which the EP canparticipate in the legislative process, including the assent procedure, the codecision procedure, theconsultation procedure, and the cooperation procedure. Under the assent procedure, the Parliamentmust grant its assent before the Council can proceed with the legislation under consideration.Assent entails a simple up or down vote; the Parliament is not empowered to offer anyamendments to the proposed legislation. Under the consultation procedure, the Council of Ministersmust, as the name suggests, consult the Parliament. However, consultation is nonbinding on theCouncil. That is, the Council does not have to include the Parliaments opinions in the nal legislation.The codecision and cooperation procedures are rather more complex than the assent and consultationprocedures. Under both the codecision and cooperation procedures, the Council and the Parliamentjointly legislate. The Parliament has more authority under both of these procedures than under theconsultation procedure and is also empowered to help create the legislationrather than simplyassent to it (or not) as under the assent procedure. For a thorough discussion of these four procedures,see Crombez (1996).17. Although the Council of Ministers is a single institution, technically, different government ministerssit on the Council depending on the subject matter at hand. For example, if agricultural issues needto be addressed, then the agricultural ministers (or equivalent) from the 25 member states meet. Iftrade policy is to be discussed, then the trade ministers meet.18. Article 157 stipulates that Commissioners . . . shall be chosen on the grounds of their general com-petence and whose independence is beyond doubt. . . . The members of the Commission shall, in thegeneral interest of the Community, be completely independent in the performance of their duties. Inthe performance of their duties, they shall neither seek nor take instructions from any government orfrom any other body. They shall refrain from any action incompatible with their duties. Each MemberState undertakes to respect this principle and not to seek to inuence the members of the Commissionin the performance of their tasks (Basic Community Laws, Rudden & Wyatt, 1996).19. See Nugent (1999, p. 445).20. See Corbett, Jacobs, and Shackleton (1995, pp. 13940, 27678) for a discussion of the powers ofcommittees of inquiry and temporary committees.21. See Corbett et al. (1995, pp. 26566) for a discussion of the reports the Commission must send to theParliament and the Parliaments right to request additional reports.22. See Corbett et al. (1995, pp. 26669) for a discussion of the Parliaments written and oral questions tothe Commission.23. See Dinan (1999, p. 486) and Europa: The European Union Online. 2005. URL: and URL: Accessed January2006.24. It is interesting to note that the Commission made a point, in its July 2000 framework agreement onParliament/Commission relations, to promise to . . . that the European Parliament is kept quicklyand fully informed at all stages of the preparation, negotiation, and conclusion of internationalagreements, in such a way as to enable the Commission to take account of the European ParliamentsReichert/Jungblut: European Union External Trade Policy 415views. Europa: The European Union Online. 2001. URL: and URL: Accessed January 2006.25. See Corbett et al. (1995, pp. 29293) for a discussion of the role of the Ombudsman.26. See Corbett et al. (1995, pp. 27176) for a discussion of the Parliaments methods of communicating itspreferences to the other EU institutions.ReferencesAnderson, C. 1995. Blaming the Government: Citizens and the Economy in Five European Democracies.Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Blondel, J., R. Sinnot, and P. Svenson. 1998. 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