The UK Civil Service

Facts, Analysis and Comment.

Negotiating within the European Union

Formal negotiation takes place first at a technical level in Council working groups. Here, officials from all the Member States and the Commission, chaired by the Presidency, seek to resolve as many of the issues as possible. When they have achieved all they can, the dossier will be passed up to COREPER (the Committee of Permanent Representatives) and then to Ministers in the Council for final agreement (or referral back for more work).

Here are the key things you need to remember if you want to be a successful negotiator:

Don’t forget that what you are negotiating is law. Keep close contact with your lawyers to make sure the text really does mean what you think it does. They can also help you keep in mind how the text before you will be turned into national law. Negotiation and transposition are not separate processes, and the need for fair but effective enforcement must be addressed whilst directives are being negotiated.

Martin Stanley