Analyzing international negotiations among the member states of the European Union raises a number of analytical issues, especially in unusual circumstances such as the Eurozone crisis. Our article discusses these issues in the light of existing theory and informed by the empirical analyses assembled in this special issue. ‘National preferences’ or ideal points of the governments involved are driven by their domestic socio-economic and political conditions and institutions, the dimensionality of the negotiations, and strategic considerations. We then discuss how national preferences, states’ bargaining power, the strategic and institutional bargaining context, and the bargaining dynamics jointly influence the bargaining outcome. Examples from European negotiations in the context of the Eurozone crisis illustrate both the complexity of the process and the value of serious, theoretically informed, empirical analysis.