From Frankenstein to Toothless Vampire: Explaining the Watering Down of the Services Directive

Mads Dagnis Jensen, Peter Nedergaard

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The Services Directive is one of the most significant and controversial legislative proposals ever negotiated in the European Union (EU). This article fills a gap in our knowledge by addressing the key questions as to why and how this prestigious proposal was watered down during the negotiation process. By applying the framework of rational choice institutionalism, the analysis pinpoints the positions of the key players and estimates their relative importance in shaping the final outcome. Prima facie, the European Parliament seemed to be the decisive actor developing the text which was adopted in the end. However, a closer inspection reveals that the text was influenced by the newly elected conservative–socialist coalition government in Germany and reflected a relatively low common denominator which secured acceptance from not only the vast majority of Members of the European Parliament, but also avoided any explicit opposition in the adoption by the Council of Ministers.
TidsskriftJournal of European Public Policy
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)844-862
StatusUdgivet - 2012
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • Council of Ministers
  • Decision-making process
  • EU
  • European Parliament
  • National parties
  • Rational choice institutionalism
  • Services directive