Executive power in the making: the establishment of the European Chemical Agency (ECHA)
Expantion of the EU's executive capacity through agencies. An analysis on the genesis of the European Chemical Agency (ECHA).
The EU is gradually expanding its executive capacity through agencies, and some of the newcomers in the agency family have a larger regulatory potential than the previous ones. This paper analyses the genesis of the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), a newly born European regulatory agency. Applying a process-tracing methodology, I analyze the process by which ECHA attained its legal framework, the processes that generated its organizational set-up, and the tensions involved in formulating its mandate. The study ascribes an independent role for institutions that goes beyond seeing functional imperatives as well as rational design as the dominant explanatory factors. The aim is to provide a clearer understanding of factors that lie behind both the breakdown and reproduction of organizational structures. The establishment of ECHA was mediated by and extracted from the pre-existing institutional framework, in particular from the Member States, and administrative continuity or change depended to a large extent on how different resources and capabilities were distributed and validated within the European institutional system.