The Open Government in the EU group presented a research agenda at the 5th ECPR Conference, which took place in Porto from 23 to 26 June.
Prof. Deirdre Curtin of the research team presented a paper entitled “Studying Open Government in the EU: From Normative Debates to Empirical Fact-Finding” in the conference session entitled Public Opinion, Party Politics and Interest Intermediation. This paper puts forward a conceptual framework for assessing transparency and participation in the European Union, and subsequently proposes areas of empirical verification. Dr. Arndt Wonka (Bremen University) was discussant.
The article received both positive appraisal and critical remarks, both of which the research team gladly takes note of. Dr. Gijs Jan Brandsma considers the distinction between normative debates and empirical research of great importance, and proposes to bring it even more to the fore. He points out that investigating the state of openness in the EU does not necessarily have to originate from any particular normative position. Professor Curtin, in turn, proposes that research in the field of transparency and participation should be seen in the wider debate of facilitating accountability of the European institutions. With the encouraging feedback in mind, the research group will continue to develop and fine-tune its conceptual work.