Negotiating Flexibility in the European Union: Amsterdam, by Alexander Stubb (auth.)

By Alexander Stubb (auth.)

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Additional info for Negotiating Flexibility in the European Union: Amsterdam, Nice and Beyond

Sample text

In IGC negotiations the last option is rarely, if ever, considered because of the cumbersome nature of an IGC and its enormous political implications for each Member State. In the 1996–97 IGC the flexibility The Nature of IGC Negotiations 19 negotiations were a good example of an issue that had such political backing that, even if the Dutch Presidency had considered abandoning the whole dossier in April 1997, it would have been practically impossible to do so. By that stage too much political effort had been put into institutionalising flexibility for it to be dropped at the final hurdle.

The negotiator is a ‘principled’ negotiator whose aim is to look for mutual gains wherever possible. When interests conflict his aim is to insist on fair standards independent of the will of the other negotiator. In essence ‘the method of the principled negotiator is hard on the merits, soft on the people’ (Fisher et al. 1991: xiv). This book looks at the negotiating styles of the different participants in the IGC and establishes which of the three styles outlined above is most fruitful. The basic argument is that all EU negotiators are usually principled negotiators.

The hard negotiator wants to win at all cost. He often ends up exhausting himself and his resources, the end result being that he harms his relationship with the other side. The soft negotiator avoids personal conflict and makes concessions readily in order to reach agreement. He wants an amicable resolution, but often ends up feeling bitter and exploited. The third way to negotiate is neither hard nor soft, but rather both hard and soft. The negotiator is a ‘principled’ negotiator whose aim is to look for mutual gains wherever possible.

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