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Institutional Unity and Diversity: Exploring the Role of the European Community Agencies in the Governance of the European Union

Helena Ekelund

Governance in the European Union (EU) is constantly evolving. The establishment of agencies, in particular agencies with regulatory powers, plays a significant role in this process, and may indicate that the EU is on its way to becoming a regulatory state where important decisions are taken by technocrats rather than elected politicians. This raises a number of issues concerning accountability and legitimacy. Agencies can also have a significant impact on governance through the institutionalisation of norms and values.This paper explores the role of the Community Agencies in EU governance. It maps the agencies' functions, financial arrangements, staff resources and procedures for management recruitment. It acknowledges the similarities between them and points to the diversity of competences. The paper also highlights issues related to agencification in general, such as the risk of bureaucratic drift and agency capture by stakeholders, and discusses them in relation to the Community Agencies.

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