Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter L. Lindseth
Chapter 36: Supranational Governance and Networked Accountability Structures: Member State Oversight of EU Agencies
Johannes Saurer The most remarkable recent development in EU administrative law is the widespread establishment of European agencies. Beginning in the early 1990s, EU agencies emerged as significant actors in a number of areas, including trademark law, pharmaceutical licensing and aviation safety. EU agencies are best understood, however, not as autonomous regulators at the federal level, but as the most recent expression of European governance through administrative networks. The regulatory intertwining of supranational and national authorities in the EU is significantly different from the division of authority between federal and state bureaucracies in the United States federal system (Peters 2006). Hence, the accountability of European agencies to the EU and to Member States has unique features that can be traced to the dynamics of European integration. Accountability is largely a function of networked institutional relations that link European administrative entities to both supranational and national forums of accountability (Hofmann 2008: 671, Vos 2005: 125 ff.). This chapter concentrates on the second form of accountability through an in-depth exploration of the way Member States oversee EU agencies. Oversight, here, covers monitoring, hearings, budgetary reviews or judicial actions, as well as procedural constraints.1 Section 1 locates the EU agencies within the emerging networks of the EU administrative sphere. Section 2 provides an overview of the unity and diversity of the accountability architecture of the European agencies. Section 3 examines the oversight competences and activities of the Member States, distinguishing internal and external oversight mechanisms. Section 4 reflects on the consequences of this...
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