Posts Tagged ‘efficiency’

New article on the trade-off between transparency and efficiency

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

A new article in the Journal of European Public Policy takes a closer look at the purported trade-off between transparency and efficiency.

The tension between transparency and efficiency in the context of the Council of the European Union is as often invoked as it remains unclarified. In a new article in the Journal of European Public Policy, Stéphanie Novak (Ca’Foscari University Venice) and Maarten Hillebrandt (Bielefeld University) ask to what extent these two sources of legitimacy are really incompatible as is so routinely claimed, by exploring the premises and the coherence of the trade-off argument. They argue that the argument is unclear at its core because of the multiple meanings of efficiency. Upon a closer examination of the logical premises of the various claims postulated in defence of the presence of a trade-off, they further find that while the trade-off is in some instances more plausible than in others, transparency does not necessarily threaten efficiency and can sometimes even increase it. The presumed correlation between secrecy and efficiency, on which the trade-off is implicitly based, can also be questioned, not only on theoretical but also on empirical grounds. The authors conclude that, all in all, the trade-off argument forms a generally contingent and often questionable basis for limiting transparency.

The article can be accessed here.

Discussing the space to think in the context of the European Council

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

ceulogo_0_1Does transparency come at the expensive of efficient decision-making? The case for a trade-off between and open and efficient decision-making has certainly been made on innumerable occasions. But whether it is in fact well grounded has, surprisingly, been subjected to rather limited systematic scrutiny.

Political scientist Stéphanie Novak (Université Catholique en Lille) and Open Government in the EU researcher Maarten Hillebrandt (University of Amsterdam) have now begun to systematically explore the case for a non-transparent “space to think” that is systematically invoked by the European Council, and Council – purportedly in order to safeguard the efficiency of their respective decision-making processes. They will present a paper on this topic at a workshop on the centrality of European Council and Council decision-making organised by the Central European University, Budapest.

The European Council has increasingly come to the fore as a constitutionally anomalous yet powerful executive institution of the European Union. This has aroused an increasing interest from the social scientific and legal researchers, among them the researchers of the Open Government in the EU research group, who investigate its transparency and accountability arrangements (see more under publications). -MH

Incoming Commission Vice-President Timmermans calls for more transparency

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

timmermansnw208In his hearing before the European Parliament yesterday, incoming Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans pledged to introduce a change of culture into the EU’s decision making. This, he argued, includes much broader transparency than has been the case up until now.

Maarten Hillebrandt

The European Parliament, as well as the Brussels-based press corps, responded very positively to the eloquent polyglot, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and one-time Minister of European Affairs. Timmermans answered questions from MEPs in Dutch, English, French, German, and Italian, and didn’t miss a chance to apologise for not speaking Polish and praising Poland for liberating his father’s home town at the end of the Second World War. According to expectation, Timmermans was approved for the position of First Vice-President and Commissioner for Better Regulation, European Human Rights hours after the hearing.

More interestingly for the readers of this blog, Timmermans capitalised on the need for the EU to bring its decision making closer to citizens. (more…)