Last year’s Christmas celebration at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam included a special present for ACELG’s Madalina Busuioc. Madalina was awarded a special recognition for her research on agencies and her publication “European Agencies: Pockets of Accountability”, which is a chapter in Bovens, Curtin and ‘t Hart’s “Real World of EU Accountability”.
Madalina’s contribution highlights the formal mechanisms of accountability of European Agencies and compares them with the practice. It looks at managerial, political, financial and (quasi-)legal for a for accountability and debates their various advantages and disadvantages.
The study revealed a high variance in dealing with agencies. Some general findings are that the availability of formal mechanisms is not yet the end of the story. Different mechanisms show differing levels of use, with a chronicle underuse of quite a few. Some mechanisms (i.e. boards) suffer generic shortcomings, and are not seen as very conducive to accountability.
Consequently, the way forward is firstly in putting the tools available to better use. However, in some ways this would imply a change in institutional culture, an aim not at all easily achieved. In conclusion, the accountability for a of EU agencies themselves deserve also in the future closer monitoring.