053 Transparency: a Transformative Value to Reform a Crisis-Shaken EU?

The Role of Values in EU governance
Wednesday, July 12, 2017: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
Transparency relates primarily to the access to information. However, a wider definition has been increasingly used as a motive for reforms and changes within administrations or governments. The paradigm of “good governance” and the “participatory turn” have put forward the virtue of openness as a democratic value against the conception of “politics behind closed doors”. Transparency, a value inscribed in Lisbon Treaty, has thus becomes a transformative force able to reshape the relationship between governments and citizens. The term is however not consensual and is the object of inter-institutional struggles over legitimate meaning and decisions. In EU discourses, some emphasize the need for independent and technocratic institutions requiring a certain level of secrecy (Commission, European Central Bank, European Court of Justice). Others advocate open discussion and contradictory argumentation (Parliaments, civil society).

Justified by the emergency context, intergovernmental decisions have predominated in the crisis resolution, while “independent” experts played an important role in the fabrication of economic solutions and their implementation. Secrecy and technocracy have thus triumphed as ruling principles of the EU’s crisis regulation, contradicting its founding principles. Transparency therefore offers a case in which an EU-promoted value becomes an issue likely to backfire against European institutions. The panel will explore the following questions: Transparency being a contentious political resource, how do actors struggle for its definition? How does transparency co-exist with other potentially contradictory values such as the autonomy of rational and technical assessments? Which instruments are promoted to enact this value at the European level?


Ramona Coman
Discussant :
Oriane Calligaro
The European Parliament, Transparency and Trilogues
Justin Greenwood, Robert Gordon University; Christilla Roederer-Rynning, University of Southern Denmark
EMU: Fostering Legitimacy through “Transparent” Economic Instruments?
Marylou Hamm, Université libre de Bruxelles - Sciences Po Strasbourg