This edited volume offers a critical discussion of the trade-offs between transparency and secrecy in the actual political practice of democratic states in Europe. As such, it answers to a growing need to systematically analyse the problem of secrecy in governance in this political and geographical context.

Focusing on topical cases and controversies in particular areas, the contributors reflect on the justification and limits of the use of secrecy in democratic governance, register the social, cultural, and historical factors that inform this process and explore the criteria used by European legislators and policy-makers, both at the national and supranational level, when balancing interests on the sides of transparency and secrecy, respectively.

This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of security studies, political science, European politics/studies, law, history, political philosophy, public administration, intelligence studies, media and communication studies, and information technology sciences.

chapter |13 pages


Transparency and secrecy in European democracies

part I|45 pages

The drive to transparency

chapter 1|19 pages

The Janus face of transparency

Balancing openness and secrecy in democratic decision-making

chapter 2|24 pages

Freedom of information in Europe

Creation, context, and conflict

part II|96 pages

Transparency and secrecy: day-to-day trade-offs

chapter 3|16 pages

The ambiguity of leaks

Transparency and secrecy in the EU

chapter 5|19 pages

“What the eye cannot see”

Justifying limits to freedom of information in the diplomatic context

chapter 6|17 pages

Self-reinforcing secrecy

Cultures of secrecy within intelligence agencies

part III|53 pages

Oversight and accountability

chapter 9|19 pages

State secrecy in the age of terror

The Italian case in a comparative perspective

chapter 10|16 pages

Political whistleblowing in Europe

Official secrets, freedom of expression, and the rule of law