1st Edition

Transparency and Secrecy in European Democracies Contested Trade-offs

Edited By Dorota Mokrosinska Copyright 2021
    230 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    230 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume offers a critical discussion of the trade-offs between transparency and secrecy in the actual political practice of democratic states in Europe. As such, it answers to a growing need to systematically analyse the problem of secrecy in governance in this political and geographical context.

    Focusing on topical cases and controversies in particular areas, the contributors reflect on the justification and limits of the use of secrecy in democratic governance, register the social, cultural, and historical factors that inform this process and explore the criteria used by European legislators and policy-makers, both at the national and supranational level, when balancing interests on the sides of transparency and secrecy, respectively.

    This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of security studies, political science, European politics/studies, law, history, political philosophy, public administration, intelligence studies, media and communication studies, and information technology sciences.

    Introduction: Transparency and Secrecy in European Democracies

    Dorota Mokrosinska

    Part I: The Drive to Transparency

    1. The Janus Face of Transparency: Balancing Openness and Secrecy in Democratic Decision-making

    Jenny de Fine Licht

    2. Freedom of Information in Europe: Creation, Context and Conflict

    Ben Worthy

    Part II: Transparency and Secrecy: Day-to-Day Trade-offs

    3. The Ambiguity of Leaks: Transparency and Secrecy in the EU

    Vigjilenca Abazi and Ronny Patz

    4. European Secrecy and Post-9/11 Security Practice

    Marieke de Goede and Mara Wesseling

    5. What the Eye Cannot See: Justifying Limits to Freedom of Information in the Diplomatic Context

    Sanderijn Duquet and Jan Wouters

    6. Self-reinforcing Secrecy: Cultures of Secrecy within Intelligence Agencies

    Eleni Braat

    7. Paradoxical secrecy in British Freedom of Information Law

    Owen Thomas

    Part III: Oversight and Accountability

    8. Secrecy and the Preservation of the Democratic State: The Concept of Raison d’état in the German Bundestag

    Dorothee Riese

    9. State Secrecy in the Age of Terror: The Italian Case in a Comparative Perspective

    Arianna Vedaschi

    10. Political Whistleblowing in Europe: Official Secrets, Freedom of Expression and the Rule of Law

    Vigjilenca Abazi


    Dorota Mokrosinska is Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and the Programme Director of the Centre for Political Philosophy at Leiden University, The Netherlands.