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Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon


addition, the entrenched practice of seeking an early conclusion

creates a path-dependent effect and modifies expectations.

The reduction in the number of conciliations led to a

situation in which conciliation is seen more and more as an

exception. Actors become less used to it and it requires

greater efforts to explain “the rules of the game.” The

Council seems increasingly to try to avoid conciliations

and Presidencies seem to feel more at ease with the

flexibility of 1st and 2nd reading negotiations. Conciliation

is perceived by Presidencies as a more demanding procedure

which requires the presence of Ministers, has strict

deadlines, translation and interpretation requirements etc.

(European Parliament, 2009: 21)

Informal decision making further significantly constrains

formal decision making because MEPs find themselves under

considerable political pressure not to re-open deals struck in the

informal arena (Reh, 2014: 826). The mechanism, however,

through which the informalization of decision-making changes

power distribution among actors is not limited to modified

expectations. Actors who represent their institutions in informal

inter-institutional negotiations

commonly known as



enjoy informational advantages over actors who do not

participate in these negotiations. Over time, the increased use of

secluded trilogue negotiations to reach early agreements has led to

a redistribution of power between the


actors and

rank-and-file parliamentarians. Disproportionately, it is the big

political parties (and their rapporteurs in particular) and largest

Member States that are privileged. Such a redistribution of power

renders the electorate even less relevant in the European system of

representative democracy (Farrell & Héritier, 2004; Häge &

Naurin, 2013: 954; Reh, 2014: 827; Reh, Héritier, Bressanelli, &

Koop, 2013: 2). The far-reaching impact of this mode of early

agreement prompted Martin Schulz to state in his inaugural speech

that “[i]f our Parliament is to become more visible, if greater