Exploring Ireland's approach to negotiating the 2012 Fiscal Stability Treaty: a qualitative study

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Costello, Anthony James
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University College Cork
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On the 2nd of March 2012 the intergovernmental Fiscal Stability Treaty was signed by 25 European Union (EU) member-states with the exception of the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. The treaty was part of a broader set of planned measures taken by EU member-states to protect the Euro in the wake of the 2007 Eurozone crisis. The treaty aimed to reduce national debt in EU member-states by averting fiscal imbalances. Due to the poor condition of the Irish economy, the treaty was a chance for Ireland to regain international market confidence, economic stability and growth. As an economically small EU member-state, Ireland’s position to bargain for concessions was tenuous due to the weakness of its economy and its consequences for the rest of the EU. However, Ireland managed to achieve a considerable degree of influence throughout the Fiscal Stability Treaty negotiations by drawing upon opportunity structures as negotiation leverage. In achieving influence in the Fiscal Stability Treaty negotiations by drawing upon credible opportunity structures, Ireland proved that small EU member-states can and do achieve influence in intergovernmental treaty negotiations, regardless of their economic size. This study challenges traditional understandings regarding the strength of the small EU member-state in intergovernmental treaty negotiations. As the Union Method becomes ever more embraced by EU member-states, we are urged to think differently about how treaties are agreed between EU member-states. We are also urged to question what this may tell us about intergovernmental treaty making and the influence of small EU member-states in intergovernmental treaty making processes, both at the present time and in the future. This thesis provides a basis for such exploration.
Fiscal Stability Treaty , Ireland , Intergovernmentalism , Influence , European Union , Liberal intergovernmentalism , New intergovernmentalism , Deliberative intergovernmentalism , Referendum , European Commission , European Parliament , European Council , Council of the European Union , Opportunity structures , National preferences , Union method , National interest , Domestic societal forces , Network capital , Strategic deliberation , Mechanical coalition building , Civil service , Community method
Costello, A. J. 2016. Exploring Ireland's approach to negotiating the 2012 Fiscal Stability Treaty: a qualitative study. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.