A new special issue in the open-access journal Politics & Governance explores the possibility of transparency ‘excess’ in the face of the European Union’s constrained capacity to deliver.
Early March sees two presentations on the interactions between transparency, democracy, and governance in the Council of the EU, in Lausanne and Brussels.
On Wednesday 4 March, Open Government in the EU team member Maarten Hillebrandt will give a presentation at the University of Lausanne with the title “Babylonian speech confusion? Transparency’s Role in EU Council Democracy”. The presentation will take place in the context of the spring seminar series “Politique Suisse – enjeux et dilemmes”, convened by the Laboratoire d’analyse de la gouvernance et de l’action publique en Europe (LAGAPE), where Maarten is currently a visiting researcher. See here for more information.
On Thursday 5 March, dr. Stéphanie Novak (Université Catholique de Lille/EHESS Paris) will present work on the relation between transparency and decisional efficiency at the ESPOL Lille/ULB Brussels conference on “The quality of democracy within institutions and organisations”. Click on the flyer for more information.
Does 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