Not Worth the Net Worth? The Democratic Dilemmas of Privileged Access to Information

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Not Worth the Net Worth? The Democratic Dilemmas of Privileged Access to Information

  • Guri Rosén ARENA—Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Anne Elizabeth Stie Department of Political Science and Management, University of Agder, Norway

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Abstract:  In this article, we discuss the democratic conditions for parliamentary oversight in EU foreign affairs. Our point of departure is two Interinstitutional Agreements (IIAs) between the Council and the European Parliament (EP), which provide the latter with access to sensitive documents. To shed light on this issue, we ask to what extent these contribute to the democratic accountability in EU foreign policy? It is argued that the IIAs have strengthened the EP’s role in EU foreign affairs by giving it access to information to which it was previously denied. This does not mean, however, that this increase in power equals a strengthening of the EP as a democratic accountability forum. First of all, both IIAs (even if there are differences between them) fail to maximise the likelihood that the plurality of views in the EP as a whole is reproduced. Secondly, and more importantly, the EU citizens are largely deprived of opportunities to appraise how their elected representatives have exercised their role as guardians of executive power.

Keywords:  democratic accountability; European Parliament; European Union; secrecy; transparency



© Guri Rosén, Anne Elizabeth Stie. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.