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12 February 2016: Workshop on the Law and Politics of Confidential EU Negotiations

CERiM Research coodinators Vigijlenca Abazi and Johan Adriaensen have organised a workshop on ‘The Law and Politics of Confidential EU Negotiations’ that will cover the following themes. Why does the European Union negotiate (part of) its external negotiations in secret? To what extent is secrecy necessary in the context of EU negotiations and what are the consequences in terms of democratic accountability? This workshop aims to advance the understanding of the ‘necessity’ of secrecy for attaining candour and efficiency in negotiations as well as the arising consequences of the alleged trade-off between democratic accountability and efficiency.

Secrecy in negotiations is said to be important due to the so-called ‘limit position’ of the negotiators, which is concealed, and the protected space that secrecy offers from external pressures and opinions in order for negotiators to discuss in candour. In turn, such aspects of secrecy are defended as necessary for the overall efficiency of negotiations. The workshop aims to offer a needed theoretical clarity on the challenges that arise due to the conflict between on the one hand, secrecy as necessary for negotiations, and on the other hand, openness as necessary for public debate of issues being negotiated.

In addition, the workshop questions whether EU oversight institutions, such as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman, challenge unnecessary secrecy practices or otherwise contribute to public debate on salient issues affected by negotiations in secret, such as fundamental rights. In this respect, speakers will focus on EU practice of negotiations, particularly on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Bringing scholars of different disciplines together with EU practitioners, besides new theoretical insights, this workshop seeks to offer policy suggestions of how a certain degree of secrecy in negotiations should be managed in order to reconcile democratic accountability with legitimate policy interests in the EU.

Location: UM Campus Brussels, Avenue de l’Armée / Legerlaan 10, 1040 Brussels, Belgium

Contact people: Vigjilenca Abazi (v.abazi@maastrichtuniversity.nl) and Johan Adriaensen (j.adriaensen@maastrichtuniversity.nl)

This event is organised with the support of the Centre for European Research in Maastricht – Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and the SWOL foundation.

Programme:

09.00 – 09.30 Registration
09.30 – 09.45 Welcome & Opening Statement
09.45 – 11.15 PANEL 1: SECRECY AND NEGATIONS: THE CASE OF TTIP
Chair: Dr. Hylke Dijkstra (Maastricht University)
The EU Enhanced Transparency in TTIP: A Successful Shift of Paradigm
Jolana Mungengova (Cabinet Commissioner Cecilia Malmström)
Negotiating TTIP: The Impact of Transparency on Working Practices in EU Trade Policy
Evelyn Coremans (KU Leuven)

11.15 – 11.30 Coffee break

11.30 – 13.00 PANEL 2: BRINGING TRANSPARENCY TO EU NEGOTIATIONS
Chair: Gianluca Sgueo (NYU – EUI)
Allies in Transparency? Parliamentary, Judicial and Administrative Interplays in the EU’s external negotiations
Vigjilenca Abazi & Johan Adriaensen (University of Maastricht)
The role of the European Ombudsman in bringing greater transparency to EU negotiations
Graham Smith (Cabinet European Ombudsman)

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 15.30 PANEL 3: EFFICIENCY AND DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY: CAN BOTH ENDS BE RECONCILED IN EU NEGOTIATIONS?
Chair: Juan Santos Vara (University of Salamanca)
Secrecy, Efficiency and Transparency in EU Negotiations Päivi Leino-Sandberg (University of Helsinki)
Not worth the net-worth? The democratic dilemmas of privileged access to documents
Guri Rosen (University of Oslo) (& Anne Elisabeth Stie, University of Agder)

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-16.30 Closing

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