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The EU and the G8: the involvement of non-G8 EU member states in the G8 process

Skander Nasra, Joint paper with Dries Lesage, Jan Orbie and Thijs Van de Graaf

Although the European Union (EU) became a participant of the G8 in 1977, no detailed studies have yet addressed the EU's participation in this international forum. The central research question we will address is whether the participation of the EU (four member states as well as the European Commission and Council Presidency) in the G8 implies that the 23 non-G8 EU members are effectively involved in the G8 process. We are thus solely concerned with the internal EU level, rather than with the question of the EU's bargaining power at the G8 level. We will examine this question in two steps. First, a descriptive part will shed light on the formal and informal decision-making procedures through which the EU coordinates and prepares G8 summits and ministerials. Second, in a more analytical part, we would like to test our two intuitively-developed hypotheses: first, the involvement of the 23 non-G8 EU members will be higher in policy domains that fall within the sphere of EU competences. Second, the involvement of the 23 non-G8 EU members will be higher in policy domains that generate more political controversy. We will cover three policy areas: trade, development and energy policy. Within these areas we have selected the following cases: (1) the Doha Development Agenda; (2) development in Africa; and (3) energy efficiency and renewable energy cooperation. We limit our paper to the period of 2007-2008. Empirical data will be gathered through interviews.

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