National agencies in the European Administrative Space: Government driven, Commission driven or networked?

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Series Details Vol.87, No.4, December 2009, p779-790
Publication Date December 2009
ISSN 0033-3298
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In terms of national agencies in the European administrative space, case studies indicate that national governments may be partly split so that national (regulatory) agencies operate in a 'double-hatted' manner when practising EU legislation, serving both ministerial departments and the European Commission. Applying large-N questionnaire data, this article follows up these studies by investigating how important various institutions are with respect to influencing national agencies when they are practising EU legislation. How discretion is exercised at this stage of the policy process is not trivial; we demonstrate that, in addition, this activity is highly contested. Our main conclusion is that implementation of EU policies at the national level is neither solely indirect via national governments (as the standard portrayal says), nor solely direct (through Commission-driven national agencies), nor solely networked (through transnational agency clusters). Implementation is instead compound with several sources of power represented more or less simultaneously.

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