• censorship;
  • European Union;
  • decision making;
  • transparency


In recent years, transparency (or the lack thereof) has become a central concern of the European Union and its attempts to increase the democratic legitimacy of the legislative decision-making process. The claim regularly made is that increasing transparency increases the potential for holding decision makers to account. This study investigates the manner in which transparency in the decision-making process affects the policy positions taken by negotiators at the outset of negotiations. The findings presented suggest that increasing transparency tends to lead to polarisation of negotiations, with negotiators taking more extreme positions when they know that their positions can be observed by outside parties. The implication of this result is that advocates of transparency should be aware that there is an inherent trade-off between increasing transparency, on the one hand, and increasing the incentives to grandstand during negotiations, on the other.