RECON Online Working Paper 2011/22

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Can You Keep a Secret?

How the European Parliament Got Access to Sensitive Documents in the Area of Security and Defence


Guri Rosén (ARENA, University of Oslo)



In 2002, the European Parliament and the Council concluded an Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) on access to sensitive documents in the area of security and defence. The agreement gives the Parliament privileged access to documents that are withheld from the public. This article suggests two explanations of why this agreement was established. One proposes that the Parliament was able to convince the Council of the Parliament’s legitimate right of access. The other explanation puts forward that it was the Parliament’s bargaining strategy that secured the deal. It is argued that both explanations are necessary to capture the key features of the negotiation process and the outcome.



Bargaining – CSDP/CFSP – European Parliament – Learning – Transparency


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