Is there a Tension between Transparency and Efficiency in Decisions? The case of the Council of the European Union
Title: Is there a Tension between Transparency and Efficiency in Decisions? The case of the Council of the European Union
Author: NOVAK, Stéphanie
Series/Report no.: EUI MWP; 2011/33
Decision makers sometimes refer to the tension between transparency and efficiency in decisions. Yet, this argument is not so obvious, partly because the notion of efficiency is unclear. As a first step in the analysis of this argument, this paper attempts to build an operational definition of efficiency. We focus on the Council of the EU because different transparency rules have been implemented in this institution since the beginning of the 1990s. Still, the actors seem to sidestep these rules and often argue that transparency hampers efficiency in decisions. We rely on about 60 interviews with Council members to describe how the actors sidestep the rules and to research their incentives. We list these incentives and investigate their relationship with efficiency in decisions. Such analysis leads us to distinguish 3 types of efficiency: the ability to make compromises; the productivity in decision making; the ability to implement decisions. These distinctions should help us to carry out case studies on the effects of transparency on these different types of efficiency.
Subject: Transparency; decision making; efficiency; accountability; EU institutions
Type of Access: openAccess