This paper aims at contributing to the discussion on the overall assessment of European agencies and their possible developments. For this purpose, three main questions are tackled: (i) what are the European agencies’ distinguishing features that have emerged and consolidated in the almost two-decade long process of agencification in the EU legal order? (ii) how can such features be assessed and what problems do they raise? (iii) what perspectives can be envisaged in the development of the agencification process? The European agencies’ distinguishing features and the problems that they raise are considered by focusing on the main aspects in which the agencification process can be analysed: namely, the organizational architecture of European agencies; the powers conferred on them; the relationships between European agencies and national administrations; the “global dimension” of the administrative networks coordinated by European agencies; the mechanisms to keep European agencies under control; the legal limits of the establishment of new European agencies (and the Meroni doctrine).
As for the possible perspectives of the agencification process in the EU legal order, building upon current institutional debates and recent reform processes, two main possible lines of development are discussed: firstly, a substantial complication of the model, due to the gradual emergence, next to the European agencies of the type consolidated so far, of a “new type” of European agencies, which are independent vis-à-vis the market and EU political institutions, including the Commission; secondly, the expansion of agencification beyond the Commission’s sphere of influence and the establishment of European agencies serving European bodies other than the Commission.Common Market Law Review