National Agencies in the European Administrative Space: Government driven, Commission driven or networked?
Applying large-N questionnaire data this paper investigates which institutions are influencing national agencies when they are practising EU legislation.
Morten Egeberg and Jarle Trondal
Case studies indicate that national governments may be partly split so that national (regulatory) agencies operate in a ‘double-hatted’ manner, serving both ministerial departments and the European Commission. Applying large-N questionnaire data this paper follows up these studies by investigating which institutions are influencing national agencies when they are practising EU legislation. How discretion is exercised at this stage of the policy process is not trivial; we demonstrate that also this activity is highly contested. Our main conclusion is that implementation of EU policies at the national level is neither solely indirect via national governments (as the standard portrayal says), nor solely direct (through Commission driven national agencies), nor solely networked (through transnational agency clusters). Implementation is indeed compound with several sources of power represented more or less simultaneously.
A later version of this article has been published in Public Administration, Vol. 87, No. 4 (2009), pp. 779-790