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Arguing, Bargaining and Problem-solving: The Use of Negotiation Approaches by the EU in Global Environmental Negotiations



This paper studies the EU’s strategic approach in international environmental negotiations. Analysing the EU’s bargaining approach at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Rotterdam Convention 2019, the EU’s arguing approach at the COP to the Convention on Biological Diversity 2018 and the EU’s problem solving approach at the United Nations Environment Assembly 2019, the paper explains how and why the EU uses different strategic approaches to achieve a desirable outcome. Analysing the EU’s diplomatic activities in different issues under negotiation, this paper addresses the following research question: How do different factors explain the strategic approach that the EU applies in international environmental negotiations? The paper relies on three main data sources: interviews with EU delegates involved in the negotiations, official documents (Council and Commission documents, as well as EU position papers) and reports by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Through three case studies, the paper highlights that a high ambition, a high salience, as well as end-game negotiations lead the EU to engage in bargaining and arguing. A low ambition, low salience and early stage negotiations lead the EU to use problem-solving.


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