Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Adam Lazowski and Steven Blockmans
Over the years, European agencies have become part and parcel of the EU’s institutional landscape. Vitally, it would be impossible today to conceive of a functioning Union in the absence of European agencies, which perform key roles within integration processes, now even including, with full judicial blessing, the direct exercise of powers in order to ensure the functioning and integrity of the internal market for services. The utility of these bodies, which are currently designated decentralized agencies by the Council, Commission and Parliament within EU institutional structures, is immediately apparent. Agencies are correctly hailed as a vital element within EU efforts to establish effective governance; and are so, primarily, by virtue of their provision of expertise and concomitant ability to master complex technical and scientific issues. In addition, however, agencies are also particularly well suited to the filling in of the very particular lacunae that exist within the EU scheme of governance, furnishing highly flexible administrative capacity and regulatory efficiency, also facilitating coordination and strengthened cooperation between national authorities. They have given the European Commission a far greater degree of room to concentrate on its own core tasks and policy priorities, taking on an ever greater bundle of more mundane administrative tasks. Similarly, they provide a vital response to the need to ensure greater uniformity in the implementation of EU policies where full harmonization is a less attractive option, at the same time upholding the EU’s system of decentralized implementation.
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