An examination of EU constitutional negotiations allows for the identification of influences behind specific outcomes. A close inspection of particular issues demonstrates the necessity to revise purely realistic and instrumental approaches that focus primarily on formal negotiators, that is, national governments. Other actors, such as interest groups, can enter the negotiation arena by using empowering resources that are alternatives to state power. In some cases, such as the discussion of asylum rights for EU nationals during the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference, interest groups joined the negotiation and did not pursue self-interest, but rather sought to design broader constitutional principles of the EU. The formal negotiator, the Spanish government, was faced with pressure from these groups that emanated from a set of international norms and moral beliefs that underpinned their claims. Their success is significant, not only because they diluted the Spanish government's proposal, but because their performance demonstrated important characteristics of a maturing European civil society.