Building executive power at the European level: on the role of EU-level agencies

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Series Details No.10, 2009
Publication Date 30/06/2009
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Establishing separate executive bodies of a confederation or of a nascent federation of states seems in many respects to be the ‘hard case’ of institution-building. This article argues that ‘agencification’ at the EU level is basically about increasing the potential for more uniform implementation of EU policies across member states. The aim of this article is explorative by (i) assessing the current organisation and capacities of EU-level agencies, (ii) explaining why EU-level agencies emerge, and (iii) empirically exploring the actual role of EU-level agencies in their relationship to national administrations. The article argues that the recent booming of EU-level agencies is strongly embedded within and conditioned by existing institutional structures. Empirically, the article presents fresh survey data showing that EU-level agencies are involved in the formulation of implementation guidelines and even in the handling of individual cases within national agencies. Hence, EU-level agencies may be capable of significant task expansion beyond their formal mandates.

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