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The Engines of European IntegrationDelegation, Agency, and Agenda Setting in the EU$
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Mark A. Pollack

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251177.001.0001

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The Commission as an Agent: Delegation of Executive Power in the European Union

The Commission as an Agent: Delegation of Executive Power in the European Union

Chapter:
(p.75) Chapter 2 The Commission as an Agent: Delegation of Executive Power in the European Union
Source:
The Engines of European Integration
Author(s):

Mark A. Pollack (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199251177.003.0003

European Union governments have delegated executive and agenda‐setting powers to the Commission primarily to reduce the transaction costs of policy‐making, and they have designed complex control mechanisms to limit the discretion of the Commission in the policy process. Examines the record of delegation to the Commission throughout the EU's history, measuring the extent of delegation and Commission discretion across 35 different issue‐areas. Almost without exception, member states delegate to the Commission precisely the functions hypothesized by principal‐agent models, including most notably monitoring compliance, setting the legislative agenda and laying down expert and credible market regulations. Similarly, however, the Commission is closely monitored by member governments, which have adopted a carefully designed and calibrated system of appointment and censure mechanisms, ‘comitology’ or oversight committees and administrative law and judicial review by the European Court of Justice.

Keywords:   administrative law, comitology, delegation, discretion, European Commission, European Union, executive, judicial review, principal‐agent model, regulation

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