Towards a Multi-Level Community Administration? The Decentralisation of EU Competition Policy
This article looks more closely at administrative decentralization by the creation of quasi-autonomous agencies. Strategically located, agencies are typically perceived as constituents of an evolving EU networked-administrative system; whether this argument holds truth is evaluated against a case study of EU competition policy.
In this chapter, focus is on new forms of administrative arrangements in the EU. Increasingly, national administrative institutions interact with counterparts at the EU level. At the same time, we see a trend of administrative decentralization at the national level, where more tasks and functions are delegated to quasi-autonomous agencies. Due to their relative independence from national ministries, these agencies may be well placed, organizationally speaking, to act as local agents of a Community administration.
Such a development, indicating a possible transformation of national governments in Europe, can only be studied with a focus on the interactions between the European and the national levels. Here, the case of EU competition policy is explored to see whether a networked-administrative system is more than a theoretical construction.
This paper was published in 2006 as a book chapter in M. Egeberg (ed.) The Multilevel Union Administration, Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan.