A Two-Level Game or Two-Track Game? EU CFSP's Decision-Making on Iran Nuclear Issue

Shichen Wang

The European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is a unique domain in EU's foreign policy. The decision-makers in the CFSP include the High Representative and Member States' ministers and ministries. It is a common but not one policy, the practice of which depends on the situation substantially. Iran nuclear talk reached a milestone agreement in 2015 due to the joint efforts by the EU High Representative, the EU-3, UK, France and Germany as well as the United States, China and Russia. However, these actors have different roles in the talk. Within the EU, the High Representative acts more as a mediator while the EU-3 tend to be the negotiators. The four parties meet more frequently resulting in higher efficiency in decision-making. Meanwhile, other Member States of the EU are not actively involved in the decision-making process on Iran nuclear issue. This study focuses on the CFSP's decision-making process during the Iran nuclear talk. A Process-tracing method will be used to investigate how the CFSP conduct its decision-making. How the High Representative reflects other Member States' positions and whether the EU and BIG3 satisfy with the final results will be analysed in this paper. Based on the analysis, the author argues that a Two-Track Game is replacing the Two-Level Game in CFSP decision-making. Major countries are on the core track in CFSP while other Member States are on the orbiting track. Member States no longer share equal status in CFSP decision-making.

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