Chapter 17: Mismanagement by European Agencies: Concerns, institutional responses, and lessons
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In 1999, the Santer Commission was forced to resign through the political shock caused by the publication of the First Report of the Committee of Independent Experts. Although the Commissioners were not involved in fraudulent activities, the Committee found several instances of fraud, irregularities or mismanagement and concluded that the Commissioners did not have sufficient control over their services. Has this been a single, unfortunate episode in the history of the European Union (EU) administration? Or have there been further instances of mismanagement in the functioning of the EU administrative system? If this is indeed the case, in what ways has the EU legal order reacted to mismanagement by EU administrations? And what lessons can be learned from the events that occurred? In particular, has the existing EU legal framework proved adequate to prevent and remove mismanagement by EU administrations? And what have been the objectives sought in the responses provided by EU institutions in cases of mismanagement? This chapter will discuss these questions by considering one specific component of the EU administrative system, that of the European agencies (EAs). EAs may be said to be of particular relevance among EU administrations: they represent a quantitatively significant component of the EU administrative system; and they exemplify with remarkable clarity certain fundamental features of the overall EU administrative system, such as its networked structure and composite ways of functioning. Moreover, they have been subject to an abundance of theoretical and empirical legal reflection.

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