Maarten Zbigniew Hillebrandt, PhD Researcher at the University of Amsterdam (corresponding author); Deirdre Curtin, Professor of European law at the University of Amsterdam; Albert Meijer, Associate Professor of Public Management at Utrecht University. The authors wish to thank Carol Harlow, Steve Peers and Adriejan van Veen for providing useful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. All responsibility for remaining errors lies with the authors.
Transparency in the EU Council of Ministers: An Institutional Analysis
Article first published online: 4 JUN 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
European Law Journal
Volume 20, Issue 1, pages 1–20, January 2014
How to Cite
Hillebrandt, M. Z., Curtin, D. and Meijer, A. (2014), Transparency in the EU Council of Ministers: An Institutional Analysis. European Law Journal, 20: 1–20. doi: 10.1111/eulj.12051
- Issue published online: 11 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 4 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: SEP 2012
The development of access to documents and open meetings provisions by the Council of Ministers of the European Union shows an interesting pattern: before 1992 no formal transparency provisions existed, between 1992 and 2006 formal transparency provisions dramatically increased, and since 2006 this increase has come to a halt. This paper aims to enhance our understanding of these shifts by conducting a historical institutional analysis of policy change. As explanatory factors, we consider the preferences and power resources of Member States, as well as external catalysts and social structures. We conclude that the current revision deadlock is more stable than the situation before 1992 because now the pro-transparency coalition and transparency-sceptic Council majority have entrenched their positions. Nevertheless, and in spite of Council entrenchment, we expect that Council transparency will continue to develop in the longer term, under the pressure of increasingly influential outside actors, particularly the European Parliament.