EXERCISE N° 4 – Feedback and learning outcome of the Session 4

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Dear all,

today session was experimental as I deceided to play for the first time at the university a simulation ” The 10th BIlateral Summit EU-Kandonesia” that has been created to train the officials of the EEAS and the European Commission.
This may have been challenging and I would like you to give me some feedback on the overall structure of the session ( theory, policy content and simulation). You may reflect and drop few lines on our blog in order to:
1) Assess your pêrsonal performance and identify two learning points that were important for you;
2) Elaborate two suggestions to improve the session and its content;
Best regards,
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21 responses to “EXERCISE N° 4 – Feedback and learning outcome of the Session 4

  1. Yanitsa Dyakova

    For me, by far, this has been the most interesting exercise due to its complexity and multi-layered approach we needed to adopt. As I was already familiar with the political system of the EU and the division of labour between the different institutions, that enabled me to grasp more clearly the dynamics of the internal negotiation we held. I took the role of the COASI chair which allowed me to experience first-hand how complex it could be to defend the position of the different member states on a variety of issue areas as well as to realise the real frustration this causes to the colleagues representing supranational institutions.
    What was really beneficial to me was to be in the difficult position to relay the interests of the member states on different, politically-sensitive issue areas. This significantly shrank the ZOPA and created some frustrations in the group. I found it quite interesting how certain members of the group were more concerned about the reaction of the third party (Kandonesia) as a result of their given mandate and less so about the fact that the member states might not agree to the draft proposal. I was in the uncomfortable position of raising different issues with the proposed text so I was trying to strike a balance in my approach to the negotiation between being cooperative within the group while also ensuring that crucial points are being considered from the position of member states.
    This exercise also enabled me to face myself with the different negotiation styles of the negotiators. Due to the fast-paced nature of the negotiation, we had to adapt quickly to each other’s approach. I think we managed to achieve a good level of information sharing which allowed the group to work together towards finding a compromise satisfactory for all parties on the table.
    Suggestions:
    – Hold both the internal negotiations within the different EU institutions and externally with Kandonesia in order to be able to better compare how our red lights confront with Kandonesia’s so that we are able to reach a compromise, mutually-beneficial to both parties. As I was representing the member states, I focused solely on making sure the most crucial of their demands are being reflected in the final draft of the agreement, proposed by the EU. However, it would be interesting to be able to experience the internal negotiation thinking ahead for the upcoming discussion with the counterpart.
    – Receive the confidential instructions and the draft statement at the same time in order to allow us individually to prepare better in advance of the discussion. It would be interesting to be allowed addition time to formulate the final draft of the agreement as an outcome of the internal negotiation.

  2. Janosch Lipowsky

    I found the simulation interesting and challenging, especially since it was an internal negotiation and we were all representing the same institution, although not the same interests.

    My personal assessment is that our group achieved a nice group dynamic and managed to find the areas or points were we could make some compromises without giving up completely any red line made by the Member States and the Commission. As regards my own performance, I would say that thanks to my “good” knowledge of the Kandonesia, I was able to guide the others when it came to find some points where we could get some leverage by making minor concessions, or by fining some formulations which would respect the characteristics of Kandonesia and the principles of the Member States. I also think that I managed well to assist the Manager in chairing our meeting and to elaborate his general position by giving more specific details.

    Two points that I learned:

    – The importance of framing: I think this exercice shows how hard it is to find the right wording, given that you have to take into consideration your interests without being to agressive for the other, especially when there is an asymmetry like for the issue of human rights which is very important for the EU but marginal for Kandonesia.

    – The importance of information sharing: in order to get a coherent position and to be able to speak with one voice, I realised that it is crucial that all the actors share their information so that all options and possibilities are at the table and can actually be discussed. Without this, it would have been much harder to elaborate a strategy and we would have had much less leeway when it comes to the question of when to address this and that issue (in the declaration, during the press conference, during the visit of the commissioner etc).

    However, although I tried to prepare myself as good as possible, I found it hard to determine the right priorities before seeing the Joint Statement Draft. I think that if I would have had some more time to read the draft and cross my information with the statements on the draft, the meeting would have been more structured. Maybe this was intended, but I felt that a little bit more time for studying the draft individually would have been good.
    I also think that for this exercise to be even more fruitful, it would have been interesting to be confronted with the Kandonesian side to test our positions and the changes we made in the draft, since this would have been the best way to assess our internal coherence (= one voice) and thus our performance as a group.

  3. Elizabeth Tudor-Bezies

    Overall, I found the simulation to be very interesting and relevant for those who wish to work in the EU since it showed us how teams negotiate amongst each other prior to negotiations. I also thought it was a good exercise of negotiation prep.

    Overall, I would assess my performance in the exercise as pretty good. I consistently defended the priorities of my office, I attempted to bring up possible solutions to issues, even when they weren’t relevant to my priorities. I also attempted to brainstorm with my team members as to how the other negotiating party (Kandonesia) would react to our proposals to the joint declaration, and how we could get them to agree with these proposals. However, while I felt like my performance was good, I would criticize my performance by saying I felt like I was being a bit too aggressive and I could perhaps be a bit more relaxed in my negotiating stance.

    Regarding learning points, I believe I learned two things:

    1) Team negotiations can be just as crucial as bilateral negotiations with another country. Each team member comes from a specific office, division or often even from a totally different department, therefore their experiences, opinions and priorities can be completely different. Therefore, if you want your topics to be a top priority, you have to be ready to prove that they should also be a top priority for the EU Delegation in general. Your place in the overall hierarchy will also affect how your priorities will be view, which is something I found interesting.

    2) Setting red lines and anticipating reactions is crucial to a good negotiation. While looking at the joint declaration, there were many items that we wanted included that Kandonesia wasn’t too fond of, and vice versa. Therefore, while looking it over, we had to think about which items would Kandonesia outright reject/refuse to negotiate over, and where our red line would be. However, it’s also hard to establish a uniform red line since my red line was different from that of some of my team members.

    Suggestions:

    1) Evolve the simulation so that not only would we do negotiations amongst EU Delegation members, but also proceed to EU-Kandonesian negotiations to see if we have in fact predicted correctly how the opposite side would react to our proposals for the declaration.

    2) Allow us more time to figure out and define more clearly what our roles actually were. I personally felt like my head of delegation didn’t particularly lead the meeting and I was unsure what each team members’ roles/positions on the joint declaration were. I would have preferred having a better knowledge of the roles of my team members and have more time for us to flesh out better our priorities/interests.

  4. The last week sessions has been particularly interesting both in terms of content during the two first hours, and in term of practical negotiation training during the two last hours. The simulation with Kandonesia was really rewarding, as we experienced what are the internal negotiations aimed to produce a draft statement, which will be then confronted to the other side.
    I was in charge of the role of DG ENTR deputy Head of Unit and Representative for the Copernico Space Program, so I was not at the core of the negotiation, but I had to defend some specific points which were very important according to my instructions. My instructions did not give me many information concerning the other issues which were discussed in the draft statement, and was really focused on the three main points I had to defend and make sure they will appear in the draft statement, that is to say the Copernico program, the representation of the DG for the automotive industry and the visa issue. There have been two main consequences of this
    – firstly, I was at the beginning entirely focused on these objectives and I put much emphasis on them
    – secondly, once these objectives have been reached, that is to say once I obtained the certitude that the points I had to defend were going to be added to our draft statement to be confronted to the Kandonesian one, I felt less implied in the negotiation, and act in a secondary position, to assess decision and express opinion on the main choke points
    I think these two elements are characteristic of the person who are specialised on one particular issue during a negotiation. On one hand, they held a sort of monopoly concerning this issue in term of decisions, and they generally obtain the agreement of their colleagues. But on the other hand, they are not really implied in the other issues and act more as an advisor. The fact was that I was dealing with a topic requiring much specific information, which were notified in the instructions. This information was not known by the other members of the team, giving me this monopoly on this issue.
    Concerning the suggestions for the next session, I think it would be a very interesting challenge to carry on this simulation by confronting the draft statement we managed to write last week to the Kandonesian one, in order to see how to deal with the other part of the negotiation, where the agreement we managed to reach internally is confronted to the other side. Another suggestion would be to provide an actual feedback of the draft statement, in order to know if the results of the internal negotiation were usable in external negotiation with Kandonesia.

  5. Niya Shekerova

    My role in the “The 10th Bilateral Summit EU-Kandonesia” was a Managing Director for Asia in the European External Action Service.
    In the simulation, my main goals were to be a good mediator and take into consideration all part of my expertise. I personally think that my overall participation went well, I could both listen and expressed my opinion and suggestions.
    One of the problems I found everyone was struggling with was the time and the amount of information due to be addressed to the rest of the team. At the same time, we easily found a compromise. The problem with such simulations is that real-life hierarchy is slightly blurred. The stronger factor is the personal particularities of all of my colleagues, including myself into that number, rather than real role in a negotiation process. This probably to some extent is prevailing in real terms too.
    The experts normally demand something extremely local, and well-defended, but at the same time, they fail to recognize external factors, so I believe that anyone in this role wouldn’t be that good negotiator per se. This why my role was important to try to express my understanding for everyone’s position, including member states Representative, and independent program Head of Unit. The representative also ignored the fact that the EU fundamental is built on the principle of unanimity, so he decided to surrender Austria’s wishes for the common wealth, I guess in reality this wouldn’t be the case. Although I wasn’t supposed to include all the recommendations for my mission in the delegations, I still could address all mandatory aims, and even questions as Human Rights, which I believe is a success.
    Suggestions for improvement:
    I think that we’re really pressed by time, and there is a lot of things we want to cover, and the time is limited, I hope in reality delegations have much more time to prepare. We didn’t really had time to consider a “Plan B “ alternative, and to determine all the red lines for our mission and hypothetical and unexpected development from part of Kandonesia.
    However, to sum up: The simulation was both interesting, and challenging, and I believe as the realities are becoming more complex, we have to adjust even in our educational process. I hope we can brainstorm, and try to realize everyone’s restriction, behind the curtains in the time out. So that next time, we can quickly use that accumulated knowledge, and minimize frustrations.
    PP: It would be interesting to see previous feedback on the same case so as to compare, and also try to learn more about the importance of the EU hierarchy during an external delegations, and to what extent the same is taken into account.

  6. Nazlı Gül Uysal

    As the most elaborate simulation we have had thus far, the 10th European Union-Kandonesia Summit was a really challenging exercise. It required meticulous preparation, careful evaluation of instructions, attention to nuances and details; as well as empathy and creativity. As the Head of Unit in Kandonesia, I have focused mainly on delivering my insights into the context, in particular to the Managing Director, and tried to make sure the Kandonesian priorities, motivations and strategies are taken into account. To that end, I have intervened as necessary, to point out intricacies and possible reactions of our Kandonesian counterpart to each of our moves.

    Some knowledge about the EU structure and hierarchy was key to deal with the dynamics of this exercise, which was an important learning point for me. This knowledge enabled us to play our roles better and expect/predict the approach of other group members as different kinds of EU agents, with varying priorities, interests and motivations. A second, related learning point was realising the peculiarity of EU external negotiations. That is, before confronting non-member states, EU officials confront other EU officials; and know that they will ultimately have to reach a compromise within, in order to be coherent and consistent in facing the third party, despite their differences in many respects as listed above.

    Overall, the simulation was very interesting and I really enjoyed taking part in it. In order to improve, the duration of the simulation may be extended to ensure each team member processes all details and refines his/her strategy. Also, adding a second round to the simulation, that is, the actual negotiations with the Kandonesian delegate, would certainly affect the team members’ behavior in the first round as they would be compelled to pay more attention to Kandonesian perceptions.

  7. Pascal García

    During the negotiations I was representing the EU member states (COASI) and their particular positions so that my main goal was of course to further their interests. Compared to DG Enterprise for example, I felt to be in a much more important position as my share of the conversation was much larger. However, since I was presenting so many different positions I sometimes felt being the “troublemaker” in the group and spoiling the discussion. Also evaluating the different interests and deciding which of them to value more was quite challenging sometimes. So what I have learnt from this exercise was on the one hand that even the most thorough preparation is not enough. There will always be an element of uncertainty about the interests of the other negotiating parties and their approaches. Thus, the simulation has shown me the importance of spontaneity and creativity while negotiating. On the other hand, for me it was intriguing to realize that I was approaching the simulation in a quite competitive way although in broad terms we were supposed to find the best common position and should form one team for subsequent negotiations with the Kandonesians. This experience has demonstrated to me once again that once you have entered negotiations, you tend to lose the overview and rather pursue your own vested interests at the expense of a common consensus.

    With regard to the second question, what can be done to improve this simulation? First of all, I think it might be perhaps more interesting to run the simulation in two stages and divide the class into two groups, with one representing the Kandonesian delegation and the other one being the EU side. At the first stage we would simply run the last session’s simulation among the respective delegations. In the next step we would then negotiate with the other sides. This would have the advantage that there would be a clear objective in the first round and that its results could be tested in the subsequent one. Certainly, this would take more time but it would provide for a concrete objective and a self-evaluation among us. Secondly, I would like to point out that it might be advantageous to do all the preparation work before the session or at least at its very beginning (articles on the EU institutional framework and the instructions and the joint statement of the game should be provided beforehand). It took quite a while to understand them and the other parties’ positions, so that to ensure a smooth start next time, more time should be dedicated to the preparation phase.

  8. Angelique Talmor

    Assessment: overall I enjoyed this simulation as it was interesting to have a simulation where we had to work and come to a conclusion as a group, even though all the members of the group didn’t necessarily represent the same interests. I think my personal performance was satisfactory, I made an effort to be conscientious of the time constraint we imposed on us, under which we needed to come to an agreement. Two learning points for me which were important were:

    1.understanding the extra challenge which occurs when a group must balance both the competing interests and priorities with a group as well as the priorities and goals of the other side at the negotiating table.
    2. Making an effort towards group cohesion seems to be key in order to come to an agreement in the time constraints which inextricably arise. This highlights the need for members of a negotiation group to properly prepare (in order to not get off-track), and go into the negotiation with the understaning of the constraints and interests which exist on the other side.

    Suggestions for next time:
    1) I belive it would be more interesting for this simulation to also include a group of negotiators from Kandonesia. what I have in mind specifically is that the simulation would run as it did in our class where the EU negotiators had to negotiate the draft statement between themselves but then, once the statement as drafted, we face the Kandonesian negotiators as to negotiate whether the statement drafted by the EU team is acceptable. I felt it was diffiuclt for us as an EU team to properly take into account the desires and demands of the Kandonesian side when drafting our statements as there was already so much to take into account between the EU team. Having a round of negotiatons with our theoretical interlocutors would bring a fuller view of what such diplomatic activities entails; it sort of feels as though this simulation only left us with the first part of the experience without the final part.

    2) I really liked that in the first similation we did about interest rates, we debreifed afterwards on what our results were. I know this would take longer but I think it would be nice to have some critique from the professor about if the draft staement we came up with would be acceptable or not. Getting some feedback on our actual performance in the silulation would allow us to take away some points to work on/ be mindful of in any future negotiations we encounter in our careers.

  9. Maria JUROVCIKOVA

    As I represented the DG Trade Coordination Desk, my role was mainly to take care that interests of several stakeholders are not forgotten, but taken into consideration, I was also focused on the order and wording of the Joint Statement. I find the organization of our negotiations quite efficient; we proceeded paragraph by paragraph, which allowed us to focus on the concrete issue and to hear all the inputs at once.
    I believe the scenario and simulations was quite accurate to bring the interest of the member states in conflict with the EEAS or the EC. In our team we had troubles to rank our (EU) priorities and to asses where are the „real“ red lines, not just proclaimed ones, therefore we mostly chose to reformulate the text (make it less binding) to fulfill the instructions of everybody. It took us lot of time, therefore in the end we were not able to go through the text to make it coherent and well-organized. We were not sure, if we should also in advance weaken our statements/requirements (as we required it from our counterparts) to facilitate the negotiations later on.
    Considering the theoretical part of the lecture I believe that it must have been difficult to process all the information for the students who had not been in contact with the EU division of competences before. Maybe, it would be helpful if the theoretical workload would be divided to at least two lessons, which would give some time for better comprehension and we can built up the knowledge gradually. I would also add in the lecture more real examples both successful and unsuccessful EU negotiations as it is always easier to imagine and comprehend the theory as it is attached to the real happening. Otherwise, I found the information very useful mainly concerning the preparation of our final paper.

  10. Meike Coldewe

    The overall structure of the session appeared logic to me and was helpful for the later simulation.

    Personal performance and two learning points:
    I was quite satisfied with my personal performance which has a lot to do with having been part of a very friendly and cooperative team! 🙂 All negotiation partners opened up in a very honest manner so that agreements could be achieved quickly.

    Learning point one: As Managing Director I made it clear in the beginning that everyone’s opinion and constraints will be heard and that it is important to cumulate all the available information. This proved to be a good strategy since it encouraged the sharing of all information among the teammates.

    Learning point two: If you can establish the feeling of “working as a team”, following the same overall goal and make clear that everyone’s contribution is acknowledged, the path to a succesfull negotiation is paved.

    Suggestions for improvement:
    I personally found the briefing material a little bit too full of information. The time given was very little in order to comprehend the details. This made me a little unsure in my position during the internal negotiation which I think can be easily avoided by reducing the information, thereby making it possible to take a stronger stance in my role.

    The second suggestion is to make it clearer that the “Press conference” is not yet of importance (possibly by not mentioning it yet). I had the impression that some people were unsure if we already need to prepare for this point which caused time loss.

  11. Edwin O CONNELL

    Overall assessment:
    Overall, I believe that the EU-Kandonesia exercise was a very interesting and enlightening one that gave us a real understanding of the difficulties of shaping a common EU position on a variety of issues – even when it comes down to simply negotiating what is to be included in a written statement. Below some bullet points on each of the three phases:
    1. Theory phase: despite having taken multiple courses in my undergraduate and graduate studies on the EU, I personally felt this was the clearest explanation I have been given about the process of EU policy-making and the subsequent drafting an EU position (on a subject like free trade agreements). Although I have seen mixed views on the length of the preparatory phase in other comments in this blog post, I feel the length of the theoretical briefing was good as it allowed you to explain the key issues and processes thoroughly (given the mixed range of academic and geographical backgrounds in the class).
    2. Policy content: I particularly liked the level of sophistication and detail given in the policy briefs, which was undoubtedly more specific than in previous negotiations (i.e. it included country, EU department and overall objectives), as it allowed each person to fully grasp not only the general situation, but also the role that each one had to play. I only have one suggestion which you will see under suggestion 1, below.
    3. Simulation itself: in my view, to date, this has been the most interesting negotiation exercise in terms of understanding and reflecting upon the strengths and weaknesses of the EU’s (internal and external) negotiating practices. Although I have never done a similar exercise before, I felt that it quite realistically highlighted the problems and struggles that the EU faces in coming up with a common position, based on what we had been presented in the first part of the lecture. I only have one suggestion which you will see under suggestion 2, below.

    Personal perfomance:
    My position as head of delegation was undoubtedly a difficult one but however I personally feel that, although struggling at the beginning, I was by the end successful in ensuring that all voices were heard, in formulating a common position (including red lines) and in creating consensus amongst the different team members. Having said this there are two learning points that I believe were important for a relatively successful outcome of our internal negotiations:
    1. Creating a comfortable and informal climate for discussions. Testing different ways to ensure that everyone felt comfortable to speak their mind and to openly disclose their position was perhaps the most challenging task (even more than actually reaching a common position). In fact I tried two different (unsuccessful) methods before actually realising that the best way (for our group) to reach a common position was first to go point by point on the pre-written statement (and understand each members’ red lines and positions on each subject) and then to discuss how to negotiate with the other side. I was very aware of the time pressure throughout and this exercise was a good lesson in understanding how to deal with such pressure whilst at the same time try to lead discussions in a positive and cooperative manner. An element that I realised was very important in achieving this was a logistical one: arranging the two tables in the shape of a square so that we could all face each other, rather than being in awkward positions on different tables.
    2. How to lead. Representing the head of delegation, I came to genuinely understand the real challenge of trying to at the same time ensure that no party’s (i.e. department, country, individual) voice is left out, whilst trying to lead discussions toward shaping a common negotiating position and strategy. Balancing these two elements (i.e. inclusiveness and active leadership) was a very difficult task as, given the time constraints of the task, one could have easily been lost at the expense of the other. Whilst I believe that I have yet to improve on this point, this exercise was undoubtedly a lesson in these regards.

    Two suggestions to improve the session and its content:
    1. We have much discussed throughout the course about the problems of internal hierarchies and roles within the EU, as well as problems related to interpersonal relationships between EU officials. I personally felt that during the simulation, despite the stated differences in the roles and the mandate of each one in the negotiation team, these struggles and differences were not really felt. Including some background information in the briefing on each negotiator within the team (e.g. negotiating style, character, what information s/he would be more or less likely to disclose) as well as any pre-existing relationship between the EU team members (e.g. cooperative/conflictual, tense/friendly) would have perhaps made us understand these dynamics more thoroughly.
    2. Although I am fully aware that time constraints are a serious issue, like others before me, I would suggest to have an immediate follow up to the internal EU negotiation with the actual EU-Kandonesia negotiation and press briefing. This would allow us not only to evaluate the effectiveness of the positions and strategies that we came up with during our internal negotiation, but also to understand what other challenges an EU negotiating team faces when actually encountering the other side.

  12. I really enjoyed the simulation on the 10th bilateral Summit EU-Kandonesia. During the game, I was representing the Head of Unit/Kandonesia (EEAS).

    The negotiations proceeded smoothly and we were all able to achieve rapidly our objectives as mentioned in the confidential instructions. It is important to notice that this could be related to the fact that the DG ENTR was missing in our delegation/group.

    Specifically, my mandate was very broad with no binding instructions and covered almost all the issues. Therefore, I could help the Managing Director and the other members in facilitating the negotiations. What I really appreciated about this simulation was the presence of asymmetric information and interests within the same delegation.

    However, I would recommend the following suggestions:

    1. In the confidential instructions, there is a specific reference to the three main Kandonesian priorities: 1) the request to become a UNSC permanent member; 2) a more favourable visa regime; 3) the development of the civil nuclear capacities. However, a clear position on the civil nuclear capacities was totally missing in my paper mandate. Therefore, I would recommend to insert a paragraph that specifies the EU position on the issue.

    2. As many other people of the class suggested, it would have been interesting to have a simulation round with the Kandonesian authorities and a new coordination meeting of all the EU members of the delegation just after it. This second round of coordination would have stressed even more the existence of asymmetric interest and information.

  13. Jennifer Meyer

    I was the DG Entreprise representative and the last simulation was quite challenging because it was really different from the ones we did before, as we were doing an internal negotiation in groups with very different roles.

    Concerning my personal performance, I think I managed to reach my objectives as we let the paragraph about the space partnership in the joint statement, without the sentence Kandonesia wanted to add, and we also agreed to mention a dialogue on visa facilitation for researchers and high-skilled technicians in industries. Nobody talked about the car industry so I didin’t mention it either. On all other topics, I didn’t really participated except to facilitate dialogues between other diplomats.
    As we didn’t talk about my subjects of interest first, it gave me time to observe each participant and analyse their behavior in order to prepare my own negotiation (and to see who could possibly agree with me!). So my two learning points are the importance of observing other negotiators to be prepared to deal with them and the fact that roles can be really unbalanced (my role didn’t appear very important to me, compared to the representative of member States for instance).

    To improve this exercise I would suggest to clarify the mandate of the DG Entreprise representative concerning the automotive industry, because as nobody mentioned it in my simulation I didn’t know if I had to mention it or no. I was expecting it to be mentioned in the joint statement and didn’t really understand why it was in my mandate. Moreover we probably needed a bit more time to find a better agreement, as many points were to be addressed. Finally, it would be interesting to follow with the simulation of the negotiation with Kandonesia to see what the joint statement will be like at the end.

  14. During the simulation I served as the representative of DG Trade and as a result had quite a narrow focus of the issues that were important to my office and little official interest in many of the other ones. As a result, I was prepared to trade on other issues where I had no investment in order to achieve my goals on the problems identified in my brief.

    In regards to this I think I was fairly successful in negotiating for the position of DG Trade however, it meant making substantial compromises on many of the human rights related issues. This was only possible because there was no direction to take a particular position on them and instead defer to the professional diplomats of the EEAS. Additionally, I think it was interesting how I was able to serve in a mediator role internally on the issues that I was not directly involved or committed to as it let me continue to shape the final document, and protect the interests of DG Trade, while also helping our group come to a final solution.

    In terms of ways to improve the simulation, I think it would be helpful to strengthen the voice of the representative of the member states as their approval would be critical to any negotiations. This perhaps could be done by giving that actor more formal powers or, conversely, including some direction about deference into the policy briefs of the other roles. Additionally, I think building more starkly divergent interests amongst the different roles would be helpful to determine how to achieve internal coherence in the face of entrenched differences because I felt that the conflicts, or disagreements, that did exist were fairly easy to resolve or, at the very least, gloss over sufficiently to reach an ultimate solution.

    Despite these areas for improvement I thought that the exercise was both interesting and helpful as it demonstrated how different perspectives must be taken into account during negotiations as well as the preparatory work that needs to be done in order to harmonize internal positions.

  15. Dimitri TOUREN

    So I actually quite enjoy this class and simulation. I felt it was very different and harder than the previous ones and I really get the point were you wanted us to come to.

    I personnel was Head of Unit in charge of Kandonesia.

    1. My first worry was about how are we going to structure the talks etc. I felt I had to take the lead but it was actually our MD that did it. And he suggested to structure the points of talk in the order of the draft, which proved to be quite efficient.
    It proved however quite difficult to make some arbitrage among the various interests. I felt the MD was there as a referee and I had to take position – especially against the member states representative – which was not quite that I anticipated but we proved to be quite efficient. I was nonetheless difficult to make some choice among various items of different nature : do we mentionne children labour or nuclear ? etc.
    I think during the whole talks we kept in mind what would they (the kandonesian) say. It was one of the most important points for me to keep in mind so we can deal some lines in the statement against others. This was also interesting in the sense we had to anticipate what could be the position of a non present member.

    2. I would recommend a longer period of preparation because I felt a bit unarmed in the talks – especially as english is not my first language ! – and 15 more minutes would have allowed me to read well the statement. Maybe it could also be a more interactive preparation. I don’t know.
    I think it would be very interesting to go further and continue the talks with a representative of the Kandonesian – maybe next week ? So we can see to what point we reached the consensus. In fact, in our group we did but I can imagine that considering the answers given by the Kandonesians, some points might change and then… what’s going on ? Even though we prepared very well and had in mine different scenarios and alternatives regarding possibilities of talks.

    Best regards,

  16. Immaculada Miracle

    The session started with some the theoretical framework of the European institutions and policies involved in negotiations. Beyond them, it was really valuable the knowledge brought regarding the dynamics of the negotiations in the political and institutional European framework. Even though these dynamics include diverse complexities, it was substantial to get a closer look to the characteristics and challenges of the EU negotiation procedures.

    Afterwards, the 10th European Union-Kandonesian Summit simulation was developed. It was a suitable exercise to bring into practice a continuous framework of questioning oneself which approaches to adopt before, during and after the negotiation.

    What did the simulation provided us

    The mentioned European Union-Kandonesian Summit simulation provided us the opportunity to improve the strategy adopted to address the methodology, such as the preferences and the actors to rely on, that would be used in the negotiation procedures. However, the most relevant contribution of the simulation was creating a simulation approach that could result in a consensual view of the value (preferences and image) of the European Union. In our group, that was the case. Therefore, a cooperative negotiation was carried into effect within two axis: the EU stakeholders’ preferences, on the one hand, and the Kandonesian preferences, on the other side. Thereby, we identified the most optimal scenarios.

    What did I contribute with my role

    While performing the role of the DG ENTR deputy Head of Unit, my function was relatively residual. Huge disparities could be detected between the roles of the different actors taking part in the negotiation. Considering this scenario, I tried to create my own space beyond the specific role assigned aiming to get involved in a substantive know-how within the negotiation. My contributions were mainly based on two focal points:
    • Bringing my technical expertise on spatial relations and correlated projects, as well as on the automotive industry, as it was specified in the instructions of my role. The other European stakeholders relied on both my knowledge and approaches of why and how it is needed to include these technical appreciations in the Joint Statement. But they also played their role trying to verify the relevance of including the mentioned appreciations in the Joint Statement, as well as which were the interests of the EU and of Kandonesia of doing so.
    • Checking and evaluating if there were any discrepancies between the changes made in the Joint Statement with my own technical proposals. (E.g.: it is controversial giving support to nuclear energy programmes, on the one side, whilst giving support and reaching a joint declaration with Kandonesia on “clean cars” (with electric batteries)).

    What did I learn from exercising my role

    While exercising the role of DG ENTR deputy Head of Unit in the simulation, I saw the relevance of each and every stakeholder’s role as well as its limits. As we were all becoming progressively more aware of it, we noticed how interdependent we were. Although there was a vertical relation between the actors involved in the negotiation, we did not perceive but interdependence, by exercising checks and balances on each other’s proposals.

    Suggestions

    Regarding the theoretical part of the session, I would encourage to maintain it as it helps to picture the ongoing practical approach of the EU negotiation that we study in the course. Understanding the past and present EU negotiation practices raises awareness of the current complexity of international affairs. So the past and the present can be taken into account for our current practical learning as well as our potential future involvement in the EU negotiations.

    In reference to the simulation, it would be interesting to perform a follow-up negotiation with Kandonesia aiming to put in practice an entire communication plan with this region as well as to check the strategies planned within the European Union.
    Moreover, it might be also interesting to include an additional statement in the General Instructions: a past relationship crisis between the EU and Kandonesia. The objective of this addition would be observing how to recover the relationship between both regions whilst reformulating the Joint Statement.

  17. Question 1:

    Charged with the role as Head if Unit for Kandonesia I had access to information that was unknown and contradictory to the objectives of my colleges. Convincing the delegation to concede to wording that would pose as triggers for the Kandonesian team was difficult. I was unsuccessful in reaching all the goals outlined in my brief but did manage to incorporate several of the most pertinent issues.
    1. I learned that even within groups a lot of internal negotiation is need to present what appears to be a unified front. Achieving this goal is not easy and requires a lot more time that what would be presented in real life. Identifying these alternative perspectives from within the group as part of an individual preparation strategy would be helpful in ameliorating the projected internal tensions.
    2. When working from inside a foreign country and having access to the details of their internal structures you can develop an unintentional bias that favors the foreign country over your own national mandate. Knowing when to concede and when to stand firm on national objects is essential in developing relationships with foreign partners.

    Question 2:
    The exercise as a whole had good key objectives however I believe there was a lot of information provided that needed to be incorporated into the speech language with very little time to process individually and in the team setting. I think limiting the number of issues would ameliorate this problem.
    Additionally, I was not in favor of using the speech draft as a base for the group exercise. Generating cohesive language was difficult to accomplish amongst the various personalities of the group. Perhaps developing an outline for topics to be discussed at the negations or creating a list of priorities and ranking of importance would have allowed for more debate on the core issues.

  18. Mathieu COLLÉTER

    It was an interesting exercise in the context of external EU policy. My role was the DG Trade Coordination Desk. Even though my role was secondary, it was an interesting one in terms of advancing my objectives. One impression I had is that, as I was not participating in all talks and we did not completely follow the joint statement order for negotiation (treating some DG Trade questions near the end), I could push for my points, draw red lines, with the support of the EEAS Asia Chair (always some member states opposing), without much effort. I did not talk much, but when I did, it was short and clear, and rapidly adopted. I was expecting a bit more tensions and more focus on my interests when preparing, but it went well. The ambiance of the group was also good, and discussions were made to find solutions on potential oppositions. Two important learning points were: 1. On the structure of such talks with people intervening and diverging interests. It was interesting to get into details of EU negotiation teams with competing interests. The simulation clearly helps to understand these aspects with realism. 2. On the need to understand the place of his interests in a more global negotiation (trade vs. international relations points in the second part of the statement), and how to make my personal points matter in these discussions.
    Suggestions to improve: 1. The introduction/theory part was a bit long for me, and we could have leave more time for the simulation/debrief. As a European, I already knew some of the detailed aspects. With international students, I guess this introduction is of particular importance for a better understanding. So, you could maybe adapt this given the public you have. 2. It would have been interesting to have the counterpart (Kandenosian) negotiation happening too in order to fully understand the process with the final joint statement. However, this might be hard to organize in 4 hours.

  19. It was a very interesting exercise. As the DG Enterprise from the European Commission, my role together with DG Trade were secondary to the other 3 members from the EEAS, especially in regard to some of the geopolitical issues in which we do not have a core interest, we act more as coordinators between the EEAS Head of Unit Kandonesia and the Chairman of the Asia (who incur most clashes of opinions in our internal meeting). However, our presence in the internal EU delegation is to make sure certain programs to be kept as the exact wording or mentioned to pave way for future commissioner-country minister level meeting.

    Personal assessment:
    I managed to keep my DG’s core concern on the space program the exact wording as it appears now in the Joint Statement and agreed upon mentioning in the oral opening the EU’s willingness to discuss on “joint use of respective launcher’s capabilities” as a way to integrate Kandonesia’s opinion while leaving it out of the written statement for now.

    We agreed internally that we’ll not add a specific date for the termination of talks due to the strong opposition from the MS (chairman of Asia), but instead frame it vaguely like “terminate the talks in a timely fashion”, at the same time, with my insistence, add the phrase “to include all industrial and services fields in a comprehensive, balanced and mutually beneficial way”, because I’m instructed that my commissioner will soon have a meeting with the Minister of Industry on automotive industry, thus this wording will pave the way for this important visit.

    On the visa issue, we agreed on work on visa facilitation, however limited to universities, researchers (me insisting) and business (DG trade). This is a middle ground from Chairman opposing any visa facilitation and me and DG trade in favor of Kandonesia’s position.

    Two points that I learned:
    1. The order of agenda matters, as I feel since my concerns were communicated early in the internal meeting, they are more integrated in the Delegation’s position and we make more effort on thinking of the maneuvers, potential concessions, framing, trade-offs in other areas as a way to push for the ones we insist on.
    2. Each role is instructed with different red lines in the internal talk, the purpose of our meeting is to integrate and mark all core interests/red lines of 5 of us in the Joint Statement, and form a consensus on the “EU delegation” red lines, however, as a delegation group we need to assign an order of importance to the 5 red lines raised by each of us and preparing for a certain degree of concessions to the less important ones, therefore, finding this first consensus internally was not as easy as we thought.

    Suggestions:
    1. I think this simulation is really interesting and should be given more time to carry out the whole story – finalizing a written Joint Statement as well as rehearsing the 5-min oral opening by the EU delegation, then having Kandonesia delegation internal meeting to come up with their finalized version of Joint Statement, having both sides negotiate on the two JS. Because sometimes due to design of the game, even though we keep in mind the Kandonesian potential response, since we don’t have the next step of real confrontation and negotiation, we focus more on reaching an internal consensus within the EU delegation, and sometimes less acceptable from the eyes of the other side.
    2. I think the instructions can also assign a character to each negotiator, I feel in my delegation, there are more equality between the representatives to talk freely rather than having the real hierarchy of roles, which I believe in the real world, have an impact on the end result.

  20. This is was a useful and interesting exercise.
    I acted as the EEAS Asia Chair that represented the 28 member states.

    In terms of personal assessment, I would say I prepared well and set priorities before entering the negotiating circle. I readied myself to defend member states, but made sure to prioritize those points in the declaration that I favored first, in order to create a positive rapport, over those which I felt the need to dismiss or strike down. I, in fact, did succeed in defending the member states’ interests, but at a cost of prolonged consensus and tense interactions with some of my counterparts.

    1. I internalized the notion of the “single voice,” and felt the simulation adequately provided a scenario in which compromise and discussion was necessary if a harmonious consensus was to be reached.

    2. I now understand how important one’s specific role is, and how the importance of that role within the hierarchy of priorities can determine a negotiator’s opportunity and ability to engage effectively. If, for example, someone is the technical expert lobbying for a single issue, their expertise is not applicable to the majority of the discussion.

    3. As the representative to the member states, I struggled with the idea of member state protection if that meant a fractured negotiation or a prolonged/weaker consensus, especially if only one member state was in dissent. However, following discussion, I learned that when representing member state interests, stepping away from one’s mandate can have various long-term consequences. For example, had I decided to ignore Austria’s requests, it could vote “no” out of spite on a future bill that requires unanimity.

    Suggestions:

    1. Perhaps I would suggest shortening the introductory material and providing us with more time with both our job-specific mandates and the joint-declaration. I felt I did not have enough time to adequately asses the current joint-declaration on which the negotiation was to be based. I was not initially aware that the end goal revolved around amending or re-structuring the joint declaration as already written when I began preparing.

    2. I think a longer period of de-brief was probably necessary in order to truly grasp the nature of such a negotiation, as the intricacy of what actually occurs in the EU goes far beyond what we covered in class.

    3. If possible, you should attempt to follow up in a future class with the bilateral summit that is to take place between Kandonesia and the European Union, using the “single voice” already conceived in class. That would provide an interesting continuation and afford a “real-world” feel to a simulation that felt rather limited and without a definitive goal.

  21. Lucas Winkelmann

    The simulation was indeed challenging and about my personal performance I would have these two remarks (I was the COASI chair):
    * The first red line from MS that was evoked was the one concerning the date for the end of negotiations for a FTA between EU and Kandonesia, I felt that is was not the most important of my points so seing the opposition from the others I just required a vague wording but let them put a date. Unfortunately for me, I think that letting them ignore the MS recommendations for the first point weakened my position and made them feel like it was not something essential. It highlighted for me the importance of the first impression, even in what can be seen as a “friendly” negotiation, as we saw it the first simulation with the interest rates.
    * I should have taken more time at the beginning to explain my role and the importance of satisfying the MS. Because for each topic, I didn’t have more arguments and context, only the remarks and opposition of the MS. Thus, it was difficult when I had to argue for a point to be modified.

    My suggestions to improve the simulations would be to:
    *Give us more time and ask us to actually end up with a written declaration, it would force us to be more precise on what we choose. Sometimes we agreed on “changing the wording of one sentence to make it more acceptable” without actually doing so. The exercice would be even more challenging and having a concrete goal to achieve would make us more agressive on what we have been asked to do for our character.
    *It could be really interesting to divide the class between the EU and the Kandonesia to have the final negotiation on another session. This way would we have to prepare alternative scenarios, it would add another dimension and increase the stakes of our internal meeting.

    Here are my first impressions after this simulation.
    Best regards,

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