A member state of the European Union can use its term as the Council president to make progress on pending but stalled proposals which it would like to see adopted. This case study of the directive on the risk arising from physical agents shows how a Council presidency can use issue subtraction, additional meetings and compromise proposals to overcome gridlock in the Council. There is a notable difference in terms of legislative activity between the presidencies of high regulation and low regulation countries. High regulation countries put forward compromise proposals and scheduled additional meetings to resolve outstanding issues. The case study also demonstrates the importance of issue subtraction. The original proposal was gridlocked in the Council for five years. Only after the original proposal was split up into several dossiers (issue de-coupling) was it possible to reach agreement.
Council of the European Union, Council Presidency, issue subtraction, negotiation, health and safety regulation
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