There is a substantial literature examining the relationship between the EU's institutions. Much of this research addresses detailed elements in the interplay between the European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council (and European Council). There are many fewer contemporary sources that stand back from this detail to review at a more macro, or in a more holistic manner, the way in which EU institutional relations have changed in the 2000s. This paper begins the process of addressing this gap in the literature by answering two questions. The first - how has EU inter-institutional relations changed since the end of the twentieth century? - takes a broad-sweep approach which will address wide-ranging themes, but which will also, admittedly, raise as many questions as it answers. The second question - what kind of research design might allow researchers to answer such a broad question (whilst also being attentive to the specificities of the EU integration process, and without losing the subtleties of the informal as well as the formal nature of EU politics)? - offers a way forward for research in EU inter-institutional relations, which acknowledges the many changes to which the EU has been subject in recent decades, as well as incorporating recent developments in the academic literature on both the study of institutions and on the EU polity itself
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