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members with access to information for use against the other

Member States. Such practices are particularly detrimental to small

member states and run counter to both democratic accountability

and the original design of the Treaty of Lisbon.

Increased informalization in Council decision-making both

contributes to, and can be partially explained by actors’

socialization into norms of inter-institutional cooperation and

compromise. Socialization, defined as the “process of inducting

actors into the norms and rules of a given community” (Checkel,

2005: 804; Johnston, 2001: 494-506) is empirically discernible

and works within, as well as across, EU institutions. Trilogues, in

which a small group of actors engage in repeated and

time-demanding interaction in secluded settings, provide fertile

ground for socialization. Such settings facilitate mutual confidence

and augment the facility of participants in striking political

compromises, which in turn induce cooperative and constructive

behaviors (March & Olsen, 1998: 960; Reh et al


, 2013). As a

consequence, contrary to the expectation that empowering the EP

would lead to an enhancement of accountability in the Council, an

even smaller circle of bureaucrats acquired the authority, or the

acquiescence of their peers, to finalize agreements informally

behind closed doors


B. The European Council President

(A) Logical Evaluation

The European Council and the Council of the EU are where

national executives act to safeguard their respective national

interests. To what extent does the Treaty of Lisbon reinforce or

undermine the capacity of national executives in ensuring that EU

policies do not come at a cost to their national interests


the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Council has a semi-permanent

President. Assisted by the General Secretariat of the Council, the

responsibilities of the President include: