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Transparency. Accountability. Democracy: Access to EU Documents between Ideal and Reality.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of this master’s thesis is to investigate what role the accessibility of EU documents plays for the democracy in the EU. A three-pillar approach was adopted, consisting of a text analysis of the Regulation 1049/2001, which promotes transparency, and an analytical induction analysis of the cases where access to EU documents was denied despite the European Ombudsman’s recommendation to the contrary. The third pillar refers to the interplay between the two first; a contested field with ideals on the one side and the political reality on the other.

The main findings are that the positive picture of openness presented in the Regulation does not correspond with the cases. Although openness is used as a rhetorical tool in the Regulation, the case material shows that the EU has tried to restrain the development towards openness. The study suggests that although the EU officially promotes accountability through openness, its unofficial attitudes rather reminds of the concept of responsibility (Lewin 2007) that enables a more restrictive approach to transparency. Thus, both the legal frameworks and the informal factors play a role in determining the accessibility of the EU archives and its role for European democracy.

This is a two years master’s thesis in Archive, Library and Museum Studies with special focus on Archival Science.

Abstract [sv]

Den här masteruppsatsen behandlar tillgänglighetsfrågor i samband med EU:s arkiv- och dokumenthantering och dess roll och betydelse för demokratin inom EU. Först undersöktes förordning 1049/2001 med hjälp av en textanalys för att ta reda på hur EU värderar öppenhet. Därefter vändes fokus till de fall där tillgång till dokument nekats, trots Europeiska Ombudsmannens råd. Slutligen sammanfördes dessa komponenter för att skapa en bild av spänningsfältet mellan ideal och realitet.

Studien visar att öppenhet framställs mycket positivt i förordningen. Emellertid stämmer den bilden inte överens med fallmaterialet. Detta visar hur EU i de enskilda fallen försökt motverka utvecklingen mot ökad öppenhet. En trolig slutsats vore att EU stödjer koncepten öppenhet och ansvarsskyldighet i teorin, men att attityden i praktiken snarare ligger nära begreppet ”responsibility” (Lewin 2007), som möjliggör en mer restriktiv inställning till öppenhet. Det lagliga ramverket är därmed inte den enda faktorn som påverkar hur tillgängliga EU:s handlingar verkligen är och vilken roll de spelar för demokratin inom unionen.

Denna masteruppsats är skriven inom mastersprogrammet i ABM (arkiv, bibliotek, museum), inriktning arkivvetenskap.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 73 p.
Series
Uppsatser inom arkivvetenskap, ISSN 1651-6087 ; 149
Keyword [en]
Freedom of Information, Responsibility, Transparency, Accountability, European Union, Democracy
Keyword [sv]
Informationsfrihet, transparens, ansvarsskyldighet, arkiv, demokrati, Europeiska unionen
National Category
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296627Local ID: 149OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-296627DiVA: diva2:939108
Subject / course
Archival Science
Educational program
Master Programme in ALM
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-06-18 Created: 2016-06-17 Last updated: 2016-06-18Bibliographically approved

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