While 'influence' and 'power' are important phenomena of political analysis, scholars hardly agree on the definitions and relations of the two terms. In European policy-making, likewise, we know the procedure and the role of the official European Union (EU) institutions, but the impact of other relevant actors, such as EU agencies, is known less. How should we conceptualize political influence distinct from political power (and vice versa) in policy-making? What are the relations of the two terms? How and to what extent do EU agencies - advisory bodies without decision-making competence - exert influence and power in the policy-making process? By merging two lines of studies, namely the literature on EU agencies as well as influence studies, this article examines these questions and provides a conceptual framework on political influence and power in the context of EU policy-making. It argues that the focus should lie on the input and output sides of policy-making, which is about deciding on one policy - output- out of a set of alternative choices - input - that are offered to the formal decision-makers. EU agencies have several direct and indirect ways to influence, and in certain situations they even exercise informal power.
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