Official Secrets and Oversight in the EU: Law and Practices of Classified Information

ISBN : 9780198819219

Vigjilenca Abazi
224 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Apr 2019
Oxford Studies in European Law
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This monograph offers a uniquely comprehensive and in-depth legal account of official secrets in the European Union. It critically analyses their implications for oversight and fundamental rights. Based on forty interviews with practitioners and other stakeholders, it offers an understanding of the practices of official secrets and provides a critical and much-needed perspective on how parliamentary, judicial and administrative oversight institutions deal with access to classified material and the dilemma of oversight to concurrently ensure secrecy necessary for EU security policies and openness needed for democratic processes and fundamental rights. The book discerns shifts in institutional practice of oversight at the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the European Union that disproportionately favour secrecy and the protection of classified documents while creating serious limitations to open democratic deliberations and access to justice, and delivers new insights on the EU's development as a security actor as well as its autonomy from Member States, showing how rules on official secrets were a means for the EU to gain more autonomy in external security cooperation.


1 The Oversight Dilemma and Democratic Constraints of Official Secrets in the EU Constitutional Context
2 EU Regulation of Official Secrets
3 EU Practices of Official Secrets: Administrative Discretion in Practice Introduction
4 Access to Official Secrets and Reviewing Executive Secrecy
5 Closed Parliamentary Oversight and Secret Evidence in EU Courts

About the author: 

Dr Vigjilenca Abazi is assistant professor of European law at Maastricht University. She has been an Emile Noel Fellow at NYU School of Law and Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School. Dr Abazi holds a PhD degree from University of Amsterdam and LLM from Yale Law School. She has more than 20 scientific peer-reviewed publications in leading journals and is member of editorial board at European Journal of Risk Regulation. She has been invited for more than 40 academic guest lectures at leading universities worldwide including at Harvard Law School, Oxford University, European University Institute, University of Tokyo, FGV Brazil, NYU (campuses: Abu Dhabi, New York, Florence, Paris), Sciences Po Paris. Her work has been translated in Russian, German, and Spanish and featured in news media such as Der Spiegel, Le Monde, EU Observer, Bloomberg and Publico. In addition to her academic work, Dr Abazi has offered legal advice to the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.

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