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9. European Union agencies:  

explaining EU agency behaviour, processes, and outputs

Dovilė Rimkutė

The institutional development of EU agencies is striking. Over the past decades, forty-six EU agencies have been established to support the European Commission and member states in their regulatory and executive tasks. Today, EU agencies are a vital part of the EU’s administrative capacity. EU agencies have received considerable scholarly attention that used a myriad of theoretical approaches—ranging from institutional, organizational, and bureaucratic reputation to interest-group theories—to explain why EU agencies have been created; how they develop over time; whether they are wielders of supranational or intergovernmental power; how they legitimize themselves and cultivate a positive bureaucratic reputation; and how they form alliances or insulate themselves from specific stakeholders. This chapter reviews the rise of EU agencies and introduces a selection of theoretical perspectives that have been used by EU agency scholars to study EU-level agencification and EU agency behaviour, regulatory processes, and outputs.


This chapter focuses on the evolution of systems of constitutional justice since 1787. It first provides an overview of key concepts and definitions, such as constitution, constitutionalism, and rights, before presenting a simple theory of delegation and judicial power. In particular, it explains why political elites would delegate power to constitutional judges, and how to measure the extent of power, or discretion, delegated. It then considers different kinds of constitutions, rights, models of constitutional review, and the main precepts of ‘the new constitutionalism’. It also traces the evolution of constitutional forms and suggests that as constitutional rights and review has diffused around the world, so has the capacity of constitutional judges to influence, and sometimes determine, policy outcomes.


R. Daniel Kelemen and Giandomenico Majone

This chapter examines why European Union agencies have been created and what impact they are having on European governance. It begins with a discussion of theories that explain law-makersʼ design choices and the increasing popularity of European agencies, focusing on delegation and policy credibility, the politics of agency design, and legal obstacles to delegation. It then looks at the development and operation of three regulatory agencies: the European Environment Agency, the European Medicines Agency, and the European Food Safety Authority. It also considers issues regarding the EU agenciesʼ independence and accountability before concluding with an analysis of the model in which an EU agency serves as the coordinating hub of a network of national regulatory authorities.