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EU leaks are back on the agenda – also in the Council

Yesterday, I was working on a new academic paper on how to do research on EU leaks. And then first the Greens presented their EUleaks platform and later EurActiv published this article about the new Commission anti-leak strategy. So below I publish an internal  Council document with its measures to prevent leaks.

My interest on EU leaks is based on my PhD thesis where I studied how information, and in particular leaked Commission documents, were spread. Earlier this year, I published a first article on EU leaks and how the TTIP leaks were different (free version here). But I continue working on this.

Since POLITICO Europe featured my blog this morning, let me share with you something that you haven’t probably seen.

The EU Council also has (kind of) an anti-leak strategy and has been discussing the issue in its Security Committee earlier this year:

When preparing for my current paper, I stumbled over this and made a freedom of information request to the Council. I got access to this document last months, so its not secret but free to share. And I guess this is of interest now – so I’ll share it with all of you even before finishing my latest academic research.

What do you learn from that document? Well, the TTIP leaks and other leaks seem to unnerve the EU institutions, and the Council Secretariat is even actively searching for leaks on the internet to prevent leaks. The Council is looking into further means to prevent leaks, but question is whether any of these measures will do the job.

As this 2015 academic paper by Christopher A. Bail argues, leaks most of the time represent conflict within government, and they reveal that something is incoherent between the public face of institutions and what’s going on on the inside. And as long as you don’t get disagreement out of the Commission and its many department or the Council and its many member states, leaks will always happen, no matter what you do.

So, it’s a great time to do EU leaks research, and I’ll present an early draft of my new paper at an upcoming academic workshop here in Munich titled “The Politics of Secrecy in Europe” (hosted by Berthold Rittberger and Klaus H. Goetz). Stay tuned!


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