Why Some EU Agencies Are More Autonomous Than Others?
Much of the research on EU agencies has devoted growing attention to the conditions for agency creation and to the effects of the rules governing delegation on formal independence. However, such studies provide a limited view of the practical behaviour of agencies in the post-delegation phase. An emerging strand of the literature has recently redirected attention towards the practical behaviour of agencies, with contributions readdressing the debates by exploring the conditions under which agencies may perform more autonomously from their political principals, with particular attention given to the Commission. Based on a qualitative study of 24 EU agencies, this article argues that policy (former first pillar) agencies display higher levels of autonomy from the Commission as long as they are capable of producing and mobilizing key resources and capacities, with agencies under the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters being highly autonomous from the Commission.