[Journal:] West European Politics [ISSN:] 1743-9655 [Publisher:] Routledge [Place:] Basingstoke [Volume:] 41 [Year:] 2018 [Issue:] 4 [Pages:] 958-980
This article theorises the relationship of crisis and political secrecy in European public policy. Combining the literatures on crisis management and securitisation, it introduces two distinct types of crisis-related secrecy. (1) Reactive secrecy denotes the deliberate concealment of information from the public with the aim of reducing immediate negative crisis consequences. It presents itself as a functional necessity of crisis management. (2) Active secrecy is about substantive or procedural secrecy employed by authority-holders to implement their interests with fewer restraints. Here, secrecy is an instrument of crisis exploitation, reducing obstacles to extraordinary measures. This distinction is based on an understanding of authority-holders as simultaneous legitimacy- and discretion-seekers whose secrecy politics depend on the constraints and opportunities presented by crises. In order to illustrate active and reactive secrecy, the article uses examples from the euro crisis (Eurogroup summitry, ECB sovereign bond purchases) and the security crisis after 9/11 (terror lists).
authority crisis management EU public policy secrecy securitisation