Organisational overlap has become a ubiquitous feature in many policy domains. To our knowledge, little attention has been paid to the role bureaucrats can play when organisations overlap. In this paper, we are interested in shedding light on the role of international bureaucrats in organisational overlap. We argue that negotiating cooperation between two IOs not only creates new coalition-building opportunities among member states and international bureaucrats, but it can also empower some bureaucratic actors more than others. Politics does not stop at the bureaucratic level. Member states that are interested in principled reciprocity between both organisations can look to bureaucratic actors to push for inter-bureaucratic coordination while at the same time pushing these actors to go beyond their responsibilities to overcome existing interinstitutional political obstacles. On the inter-bureaucratic level, bureaucrats look for counterparts that are 'easy to talk to', with many resources, expertise, and most importantly, some autonomy from member states that enables them to facilitate inter-organisational work. Both of these dynamics can empower bureaucratic actors that have not been central in a certain policy domain before. We want to take a stab at this by looking at a particular organisational overlap, the one between the EU and NATO in the field of international crisis management. With regards to the EU-NATO relationship, these dynamics allowed the European Commission to take on a much more active role in the field of European security policy formulation.
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