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Merijn Chamon and Valerie Demedts

This chapter traces the constitutional limits to the external action of EU agencies. It argues that these limits are a combination of the general constitutional limits on EU action, the institutional balance in EU external relations (as most recently clarified by the Court of Justice in Case C-660/13) and the specific limits to EU agency action (the Meroni doctrine and the Common Approach on Decentralied Agencies). The working arrangements which the Commission Directorates General have concluded with a number of EU agencies pursuant to the Common Approach are assessed from this constitutional perspective. The chapter finds that the EU legislature has devoted insufficient attention to these limits when defining the agencies' external powers in their establishing regulations and identifies a possible way forward to ensure effective external action by EU agencies while respecting the relevant constitutional limits.