Agent–Principal Dilemma and the EU Chemical Management

Open access

Abstract

In 2007, the EU adopted the most comprehensive chemical regulation in the world. The so-called REACH requires all chemical producers and importers to register and evaluate their chemical products and, when necessary, replace them with safer alternatives. For the administration of REACH, a new European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was established. Establishment of this specialized body under the close supervision of the European Commission created in many ways an untraditional relationship which differs from the agent-principal model. The main aim of this article is to explore the specific nature of the agent-principal relationship between the ECHA and the European Commission in the areas of delegation, information asymmetry, motivation and control structures and emphasize how specific measures may limit the negative outcomes of the agent-principal dilemma.

Bacon, P. & Kato E. (2013), ‘Potential still untapped: Japanese perceptions of the European Union as an economic and normative power,’ Baltic Journal of European Studies Tallinn University of Technology, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 59-84. https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2013-0021

Bailer, S. (2014), ‘An agent dependent on the EU Member States? The determinants of the European Commission’s legislative success in the European Union,’ Journal of European Integration, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 37-53. https://doi.org/10.1080/07036337.2013.809342

Bergkamp, L. & Young P. D. (2013), ‘The organizational and administrative structures,’ in L. Bergkamp (ed.) The European Union REACH Regulation for Chemicals, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blaha, K. (2014), Interview from 15. 7. 2014 with Karel Blaha, European Chemicals Agency Administrative Board Member. Author’s archive.

Braun, D. (2002), ‘Debate: State intervention and delegation to independent regulatory agencies,’ Swiss Political Science Review, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 93-125. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1662-6370.2002.tb00336.x

Busuioc, M.; Curtin, D. & Groenleer, M. (2012), ‘Agency growth between autonomy and accountability: the European Police Office as a “living institution”,’ in B. Rittberger & A. Wonka (eds.) Agency Governance in the EU, New York: Routledge, pp. 70-98.

Craig, P. (2012), EU Administrative Law, 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568628.001.0001

Dehousse, R. (2008), ‘Delegation of powers in the European Union: the need for a multiprincipals model,’ West European Politics, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 187-204. https://doi.org/10.1080/01402380801906072

Deloitte & Touche (2002), Feasibility Study on the Source Requirements for a Central Entity, June 2002. Ref. B4_3040/2001/329289/MAR/C3. Retrieved from http://chemicalspolicy.net/downloads/cereport.pdf [accessed Feb 2018]

Delreux, T. (2008), ‘The EU as a negotiator in multilateral chemicals negotiations: multiple principals, different agents,’ Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 15, no. 7, pp. 1069-1086. https://doi.org/10.1080/13501760802311858

Delreux, T. & Adriaensen, J. (2017), ‘Twenty years of principal-agent research in EU policies: how to cope with complexity?’ European Political Science, vol. 16, pp. 1-18.

Delreux, T. & Kerremans, B. (2010), ‘How agents weaken their principals’ incentives to control: the case of EU negotiators and EU Member States in multilateral negotiations,’ European Integration, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 357-374. https://doi.org/10.1080/07036331003797554

Dowrick, F. E. (1954), ‘The relationship of principal and agent,’ The Modern Law Review, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 24-40. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1954.tb02143.x

EC (2013), Interview from 24. 4. 2014 with the EU official from the European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry, Unit F4 REACH.

ECHA (2016a), ‘About us’, European Chemicals Agency. Retrieved from http://echa.europa.eu/about-us [accessed Feb 2018]

ECHA (2016b), ‘Executive Director,’ European Chemicals Agency. Retrieved from http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/13560/biography_geert_dancet_en.pdf [accessed Feb 2018]

Follesdal, A. & Hix, S. (2006), ‘Why there is a democratic deficit in the EU: a response to Majone and Moravcsik,’ Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 533-562. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5965.2006.00650.x

Gilardi, F. (2002), ‘Delegation to independent regulatory agencies: insights from rational choice institutionalism,’ Swiss Political Science Review, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 93-125. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1662-6370.2002.tb00336.x

Harlow, C. (2011), ‘Three phases in the evolution of EU administrative law,’ in P. Craig & G. De Búrca (eds.) The Evolution of EU Law, 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hedge, D. M.; Scicchitano, M. J. & Metz, P. (1991), ‘The principal-agent model and regulatory federalism,’ The Western Political Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 1055-1080. https://doi.org/10.2307/448807

Helwig, N. (2017), ‘Agent interaction as a source of discretion of the EU High Representative,’ in T. Delreux & J. Adriaensen (eds.) The Principal-Agent Model and the European Union, London: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55137-1_5

Héritier, A. & Lehmkuhl, D. (2008), ‘The shadow of hierarchy and new modes of governance,’ Journal of Public Policy, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0143814X08000755

Jain, K. R. & Pandey, S. (2013), ‘Indian elites and the EU as a normative power,’ Baltic Journal of European Studies, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 105-126. https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2013-0023

Jansen, T. (2009), ‘The democratic deficit of the European Union, Living Reviews in Democracy, vol. 1, pp. 1-8.

Joergens, Ch. (2002), ‘The law’s problems with the governance of the Single European Market,’ in Ch. Jeorgens & R. Dehousse (eds.) Good Governance in Europe’s Integrated Market, Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199246083.003.0001

Karagiannis, Y. & Guidi, M. (2017), ‘Principal-agent models and EU policy-making,’ in N. Zahariadis & L. Buonanno (eds.) Routledge Handbook of European Public Policy, London: Routledge, pp. 1-11.

Kassim, H. & Menon, A. (2003), ‘The principal-agent approach and the study of the European Union: promise unfulfilled?’ Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 121-139. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350176032000046976

Kelemen, R. D. & Tarrant, A. D. (2011), ‘The political foundations of the eurocracy,’ West European Politics, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 922-947. https://doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2011.591076

Majone, G. (1996), Regulating Europe, London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203439197

Majone, G. (1998), ‘Europe’s “democratic deficit”: the question of standards,’ European Law Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 5-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0386.00040

Majone, G. (2002), ‘Delegation of regulatory powers in a mixed polity,’ European Law Journal, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 319-339. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0386.00156

Maskin, E. & Tirole, J. (1992), ‘The principal-agent relationship with an informed principal, II: common values,’ Econometrica, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 1-42. https://doi.org/10.2307/2951674

McCubbins, M. & Schwartz, T. (1987), ‘Congressional oversight overlooked: Police patrols versus fire alarms,’ in M. McCubbins & T. Sullivan (eds.) Congress: Structure and Policy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Meroni v. High Authority [1958] Judgment of the Court from 13 June 1958 Meroni & Co., Industrie Metallurgiche, S.A.S., v High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, Case 10/56.

München Universität v. Hauptzollamt München-Mitte [2001] Judgement of the Court of 21 November 2001, Technische Universität München v Hauptzollamt München-Mitte. Reference for a preliminary ruling: Bundesfinanzhof - Germany, Case C-269/90.

Mitnick, B. M. (1973), Fiduciary rationality and public policy: The theory of agency and some consequences. Paper presented at the 1973 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans.

Moe, T. M. (1984), ‘The new economics of organization,’ American Journal of Political Science, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 739-777. https://doi.org/10.2307/2110997

Moravcsik, A. (2002), ‘In defence of the “democratic deficit”: reassessing legitimacy in the European Union,’ Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 519-538. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5965.00390

Pollack, M. A. (1997), ‘Delegation, agency, and agenda setting in the European Community,’ International Organization, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 99-134. https://doi.org/10.1162/002081897550311

Schütze, R. (2012), European Constitutional Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139031769

Shapiro, M. (2011), ‘Independent agencies,’ in P. Craig & G. De Búrca (eds.) The Evolution of EU Law, 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Shapiro, S. P. (2005), ‘Agency theory,’ Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 31, pp. 263-284. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.31.041304.122159

Stake, R. (1994), ‘Case studies,’ in N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research, Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Thatcher, M. (2006), ‘European regulation,’ in J. Richardson (ed.) European Union. Power and Policy-Making, 3rd ed., London: Routledge.

Trondal, J. & Jeppesen, L. (2008), ‘Images of agency governance in the European Union,’ West European Politics, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 417-441. https://doi.org/10.1080/01402380801939636

Waterman, R. W. & Meier, K. J. (1998), ‘Principal-agent models: an expansion?’ Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 173-202. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.jpart.a024377

White, R. E. (2010), Shall We Dance? The Role of Agents in Managing the Principal-Agent Relationship, Iowa State University, Department of Management, College of Business.

Yin, R. K. (2009), Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Zito, A. R. (2009), ‘European agencies as agents of governance and EU learning,’ Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 1224-1243. https://doi.org/10.1080/13501760903332795

Baltic Journal of European Studies

Tallinn Law School, Department of Law, School of Business and Governance, TalTech University

Journal Information


CiteScore 2017: 0.22

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.119
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.113

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 94 94 19
PDF Downloads 50 50 12