Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

New Article on EU Transparency Policy and Interinstitutional Politics

Monday, September 25th, 2017

A new article in the latest issue of Governance & Politics deals with the role of transparency in interinstitutional politics. The question of transparency is widely regarded as a thermometer of the relation between the Council of the EU and the public at large. Relatively little attention however has been devoted to the implications of transparency (i.e., access for the general public) for inter-institutional information politics, even when the limited evidence suggests that the connection is considerable. The current publication asks how EU actors use Council transparency as a platform and for what reason. It approaches transparency as a policy that is developed in three arenas: the internal, the external political, and the external judicial arena. The article finds strong evidence in support of the view that the Council’s transparency policy played a central role in EU institutions’ attempt to advance their information ambitions. By strongly engaging with the issue of transparency particularly the European Parliament and its members succeeded at expanding their institutional information basis in an area where their political grip was traditionally at its weakest: the Foreign Affairs Council. Acting in turn as a bargaining chip, a political lever, or an alternative to institutional information, the Foreign Affairs Council’s transparency policy was thus clearly used to advance information agendas of oversight and legislative prerogatives.

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Well into the third act: The way forward on public access to EU documents

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Public Access to Documents in the EU, by Leonor Rossi and Patricia Vinagre e Silva, (Oxford/Portland, Hart Publishing, 2017, ISBN 9781509905331); xxxviii + 340pp.; £49.00 hb.

 

Access to EU Documents: A Policy in Three Acts

On 7 February, the EU celebrated a remarkable anniversary. Exactly twenty-five years ago on that day, the Heads of State and Government (HSG) of the European Community’s then twelve Member States took the bold leap forward by signing the Maastricht Treaty. Another leap forward lay tucked away in one of the Treaty’s accompanying texts, even when the Member States’ representatives did not realise it at the time of signing. Declaration 17, attached to the Maastricht Treaty, recognised the positive relation between transparency and democracy, and professed an intention to take steps to advance such transparency. Thus began the First Act of a transformative development called Access to Documents.

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Upcoming Transparency Events

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

10 March – Public defence doctoral dissertation Maarten Hillebrandt, “Living Transparency. The development of access to documents in the Council of the EU and its democratic implications”, University of Amsterdam – http://acelg.uva.nl/home/components/acelg-events/acelg-events/content/folder/events/2017/03/defence-hillebrandt.html

16 March – Conference on “Transparency and Secrecy in Foreign Policy”, organized by the University of Agder, the University of Oslo, and the University of Maastricht, Kristiansand (Norway) – http://www.uia.no/en/conferences-and-seminares/transparency-and-secrecy-in-foreign-policy

10-12 August – Mini-track on “Open Government and Policy-Making in the Digital Age” at AMCIS conference, Boston (USA) – https://amcis2017.aisnet.org/submissions/track-descriptions/#toggle-id-6

6-9 September – Section on “Behind Closed Doors Re-Visited: Exploring the Transparency-Accountability-Representation Nexus” at the ECPR Annual Conference, Oslo (Norway) – https://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=678&EventID=96

Panel on transparency at ECPR annual conference in Oslo

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The next ECPR annual conference, held in Oslo 6-9 September, will feature a section on government transparency. Entitled “Behind Closed Doors Re-Visited: Exploring the Transparency-Accountability-Representation Nexus”, the section, chaired by dr. Guri Rosén and Anne Elizabeth Stie, includes panels on (1) the relation between transparency, representation and accountability, (2) transparency in the European Parliament, (3) parliamentary oversight, and (4) expertisation.
The panels now invite papers. More information can be found here: The next ECPR annual conference, held in Oslo 6-9 September, will feature a section on government transparency. Entitled “Behind Closed Doors Re-Visited: Exploring the Transparency-Accountability-Representation Nexus”, the section, chaired by dr. Guri Rosén and Anne Elizabeth Stie, includes panels on (1) the relation between transparency, representation and accountability, (2) transparency in the European Parliament, (3) parliamentary oversight, and (4) expertisation.

The panels now invite papers. More information can be found here: https://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=678&EventID=96.

Presentations and discussions on EU transparency across North-Western Europe

Monday, October 24th, 2016

During the coming months, several presentations and/or discussions on transparency of the European Union are planned in which members of the Open Government project or affiliated researchers take part.

On Wednesday 2 November, the Dutch Parliament’s Standing Committee on European Affairs is to organise a roundtable discussion on the state of EU information provision. Invited as speakers are dr. Gijs Jan Brandsma (UU, Utrecht), prof. Deirdre Curtin (EUI, Florence), Maarten Hillebrandt (University of Bielefeld, Meijers Committee), and prof. Kees Groenendijk (Meijers Committee). Written contributions (one in English, two in Dutch), can be accessed here.

On Tuesday 6 December, dr. Guri Rosén will present and discuss a paper in the CERG seminar (Gothenburg, Sweden) entitled “The secret is out: How to account for the (lack of) transparency in EU external relations?”.

On that same day, Maarten Hillebrandt will hold a presentation on “Understanding the development of access to documents in the Council of the EU”, at the Law and Society seminar of the University of Bielefeld (Germany).

Update on 7 November 2016.

New article explores the relations between secrecy and executive dominance in the EU

Friday, October 14th, 2016

The concept of the ‘space to think’ has since long offered an argument to EU decision makers to limit the transparency of decision-making processes. In a new article entitled “‘Integration without transparency’? Reliance on the space to think in the European Council and Council” published in the Journal of European Integration, Maarten Hillebrandt (Bielefeld University) and Stéphanie Novak (UC Lille) explore a tacit but common assumption underlying the EU’s reliance on the ‘space to think’: that it is caused and amplified by the dominance of executive actors.

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Fifth Global Conference on Transparency Research Announced

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Limerick logoThe fifth Global Conference on Transparency Research has been announced.

It is due to take place at the University of Limerick, Ireland, from 19-21 June 2017. The organisation this time is in the hands of an tricontinental team of researchers from the Universities of Limerick, Baltimore (USA), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Makerere (Kampala, Uganda).

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Brussels workshop on the role of confidentiality in international negotiations

Monday, January 25th, 2016

On Friday 12 February, CERIM (Maastricht) will host a workshop on ‘The Law and Politics of Confidential EU Negotiations’ at the UM Campus in Brussels.

The workshop is organised by dr. Abazi and dr. Aedriaensen (both CERIM). Central questions that will be asked at this workshop are: Why does the European Union negotiate (part of) its external negotiations in secret? To what extent is secrecy necessary in the context of EU negotiations and what are the consequences in terms of democratic accountability?

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Paper on transparency in EU intergovernmental institutions

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

logoOn Friday 25 September, Open Government in the EU researcher Maarten Hillebrandt, together with dr. Stéphanie Novak (Université Catholique Lille) will present a paper at a workshop on the central role of the European Council in recent EU decision making, held at LUISS Guido Carli (Rome). The paper, which deals with the role of the space to think in the EU’s intergovernmental institutions (the European Council and the Council), is planned to be included in a special issue on the European Council in the Journal of European Integration (editors: prof. Uwe Puetter and prof. Sergio Fabbrini).

Successful Fourth Global Conference on Transparency Research held in Lugano

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

5491512From 4-6 June, the Fourth Global Conference on Transparency Research was held at the Università dela Svizzera italiana in Lugano. The conference was again a large success. Some 60 papers were presented, while the conference was attended by almost 80 researchers and practitioners from five continents. The organisers were pleased to note the presence of a strong contingent of PhD researchers too, suggesting continuity for the nearby future in the field of government transparency research.

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