Between Institutional Feedback and Role Making
: Role Institutionalisation of the Post-Lisbon EU Council Rotating Presidency

  • Magdalena Nasieniak

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The Lisbon Treaty introduced one of the most far reaching reforms of the EU foreign policy system. This has been particularly noticeable in the example of the rotating Presidency of the EU Council. By transferring the functions formerly associated with the Presidency to the newly established actors, the President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Presidency’s role has been severely limited. Yet with only limited formal provisions, the practical arrangements were to be clarified in due course of the implication phase. This thesis explores this phase by tracing the processes of the implementation and informal adaptation of the Treaty’s provisions in the post-Lisbon context of EU foreign policy making. The analytical framework incorporating new institutionalist and role-based insights aims to capture the institutional development of the Presidency’s role as an outcome of the institutional feedback and particular role making of the first Member States in the chair. The proposed model of role institutionalisation is argued to explore mechanisms of institutional change in a more in-depth manner as a constitutive process at the structural and agential levels. The concept of role making is used to capture and explore the influence of Spain, Belgium, Hungary and Poland on the inter-institutional positioning and functional scope of the post-Lisbon Presidency. At the national level of analysis, the individual role enactment of these countries reflects their national preferences towards both the system of European foreign policy and national role conceptions. At the same time, however, their individual role making is both enabled and/or constrained by the emerging system of the post-Lisbon foreign policy making (institutional feedback), and by a set of factors at the national, European and international levels. Consequently, the analysis confirms the added value of applying role theory while studying the Presidency, as well as highlights its analytical usefulness in exploring the process of institutional change.
Date of Award24 May 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorLeslie Wehner (Supervisor)

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