The recent bifurcation of European studies into state-centric and new institutionalist camps has resulted in a sterile theoretical debate that says little about an empirical world where bargaining outcomes cover both member states’ preferences and the institutional setting. This article is an attempt to move beyond the theoretical debate. It juxtaposes a conceptual framework for analyzing EU negotiations with an analysis of the bargaining process on the settlement of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy. The conceptual framework will identify a set of variables that can explain the bargaining outcome: preferences of national government representatives, preferences of the European Commission, and the institutional setting.