The aim of this paper is to examine key debates on the relationship between the independence of EU agencies (EAs) and interest groups. The study analyses four theoretical approaches to the participation of interest groups in EAs (the desire for expertise, the search for organizational reputation, the societal accountability explanation, and the desire for political legitimacy), and discusses the notions of independence on which these explanations rely. We pay particular attention to the extent to which EAs provide mechanisms for the participation of interest groups, and whether public officials and experts working at these agencies have professional ties to different types of stakeholders. Finally, we also discuss the presence of revolving doors and regulatory capture as two potential problems for the participation of interest groups, and the lack of legitimacy in EU regulatory governance that could arise from their absence.
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