Report

Investigation of informal trilogue negotiations

Investigation of informal trilogue negotiations

Summary This study focuses on the use and added value, the lack of transparency and the possible democratic deficit of trilogues and early agreements in the European Union since the Lisbon Treaty.

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.