Tag Archives: Powers of the EC Institutions

Regulatory agencies

Regulatory agencies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Regulatory agencies


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Institutional affairs > The institutions bodies and agencies of the union

Regulatory agencies

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 11 March 2008: European Agencies – The way forward {SEC(2008) 323} [COM(2008) 135 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The present Communication concerns only regulatory agencies, and not the executive agencies. It addresses the need for a common approach to the place of these agencies in European governance and the lack of clarity over their role and accountability. Currently, the Commission is responsible for proposing the establishment of agencies on a case-by-case basis, with the European Parliament and/or the Council of Ministers taking the final decision. A common view of the regulatory agencies shared by the EU institutions would promote transparency and improve working methods. This is particularly important as the agencies play an integral though highly varied part in a wide range of policy issues.

The regulatory agencies can be categorised roughly on the basis of their functions:

  • adoption of individual decisions;
  • technical or scientific advice to the Commission and the Member States;
  • responsibility for operational activities;
  • information and networking services;
  • services to other agencies and institutions.

The specific roles of each agency are set out in its own founding legal act. These agencies are independent bodies, usually governed by a Management Board. The Management Board has responsibility for overseeing the performance of the agency and for nominating the Director, who in turn is in charge of the agency’s operational aspects. Most of the agencies are funded by the EU budget, and hence the European Parliament has responsibility for their budgetary discharge. In addition, the general Financial Regulation, along with the Framework Financial Regulation, provides common rules for the agencies’ financial governance. What is lacking, however, is a general set of rules for the creation and operation of these agencies. And more importantly, there is a lack of clear rules for the accountability of their actions. Furthermore, the role and influence of the other institutions is questionable, for example with regard to the nomination and appointment of Directors and Management Boards. Consequently, with the present Communication, the Commission aims to re-launch a debate on the governance of the regulatory agencies.

A common framework

A common approach to the governance of regulatory agencies should be standardised enough to take into account the differences between the agencies. At the same time, the basic principles of accountability and sound financial management should also be respected. Therefore, the common approach should specify the following aspects of the regulatory agencies:

  • tasks;
  • structure and working methods;
  • accountability and relations with the other institutions;
  • regulatory framework;
  • establishment and termination;
  • communication strategy.

To achieve consistency, the common approach may necessitate amending the founding legal act of an existing agency.

Next steps

The Commission calls for the creation of an inter-institutional working group to form a political assessment of the regulatory agencies. This could be followed-up with an instrument, legally binding or otherwise, that would provide form and transparency to the results of the assessment. The objective is to achieve a common political understanding about the agencies.

Simultaneously, the Commission will launch an evaluation of the existing regulatory agencies, with the results to be communicated by 2009-10. In the meantime, no new agencies will be proposed so that the evaluation may be carried out in a constant setting. The Commission will also launch a review of its own internal systems with regard to its relations to agencies and its methodology for conducting impact assessment of the regulatory agencies.

Related Acts

Draft Interinsitutional Agreement of 25 February 2005 on the operating framework for the European regulatory agencies [COM(2005) 59 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 20 December 1999: Participation of candidate countries in Community programmes, agencies and committees [COM(1999) 710 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Institutional affairs > The institutions bodies and agencies of the union

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (recast).


Council Regulation (EEC) No 302/93 on the establishment of a European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) had to be recast to keep abreast of new developments in the European Union (EU). The regulation also needed updating so as to extend the centre’s role to the investigation of new trends in drug use, especially poly-drug use, where illicit drugs are taken in combination with legal drugs or medication.

Role and activities

The role of EMCDDA is to process and produce statistical, documentary and technical information on drugs and drug addiction, and thereby provide the EU and its countries with an overall view of the European drugs situation when they take measures or devise activities in their respective spheres of responsibility. The centre may not go beyond this overall information brief and must not collect personal data.

This recast regulation strengthens the centre’s role. It extends the centre’s collection, registration and analysis work to also cover data on emerging trends in drug use. The regulation underlines the importance of exchanging information on best practices developed in EU countries.

The priority areas of EMCDDA activities consist of:

  • monitoring the state of the drugs problem and emerging trends, in particular those involving poly-drug use;
  • monitoring the solutions applied to drug-related problems, providing information on best practices in EU countries and facilitating the exchange of such practices among them;
  • maintaining a rapid information system and assessing the risks of new psychoactive substances;
  • developing tools and instruments to help the Commission and EU countries to monitor and evaluate their respective policies on drugs.

The organisation and working methods of EMCDDA are defined in such a way as to ensure the objectivity of the results sought, i.e. the comparability of sources and methods concerning information on drugs. Its activities in this framework can be summarised as follows:

  • collection and analysis of existing data;
  • improvement of data-comparison methods;
  • dissemination of data;
  • cooperation with European and international organisations and non-EU countries;
  • dissemination of information on new developments and trends.

The centre is assisted by a scientific committee.

The centre also has at its disposal the European Information Network on Drugs and Drug Addiction (Reitox). The network consists of one focal point for each EU country and for each country that has concluded an agreement on participation in EMCDDA, as well as of a focal point for the Commission.

The centre must take account of activities already carried out by other agencies, e.g. the European Police Office (Europol).

Legal and organisational status

The centre has legal personality. Any actions brought against it fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (EJC). The centre’s headquarters are in Lisbon, Portugal.

EMCDDA is headed by a director, who is responsible for the centre’s daily management. The management board, which is assisted by an executive committee, adopts the centre’s:

  • three-year work programmes;
  • annual work programmes (under the three-year work programmes);
  • annual activity reports.

EMCDDA is also open to non-EU countries that attach the same importance as the EU and its countries to the issue of drugs. The regulation specifies the status of members representing these countries on the management board.

The centre is to gradually achieve its aims, in light of the objectives laid down in the three-year and annual work programmes and with due regard to the resources available. Every six years the Commission will conduct an external evaluation that must also cover the Reitox network.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006


OJ L 376, 27.12.2006