Revisiting the informal power resources of member states’ permanent representations to the EU
This article sheds new light on the power resources of member states at the European level by investigating the role and resources of their permanent representations to the EU. Building on previous research on member states’ influence in the EU decision-making process, this contribution documents variations of permanent representations’ human resources, structure and coordination processes. Based on semi-structured interviews conducted with 87 Council negotiators and EU representatives in Brussels between 2016 and 2020, this article identifies significant divergences in the workforce, role and efficiency of permanent representations, as well as in their level of engagement with other EU institutions. These findings show noticeable asymmetries (both qualitative and quantitative) in the informal capabilities of member states in Brussels and have implications for our understanding of their capacity to formulate and defend political preferences at the European level.