Community Agencies

Community Agencies are governed by European public law, are distinct from the Community Institutions and have their own legal personality.  They fulfil specific technical, scientific and management tasks within the framework of the first pillar of the European Union (EU). The individual agencies have different objectives – some react to the need to ensure the development of scientific or technical know-how in specific areas; others unite different interest groups and assist in dialogue on a pan-European or international level. At the present time there are 24 agencies in the Community – among others, they include the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).

Agencies differ in size and purpose.  They all have a common basic structure and similar ways of operating. Each agency is governed by an Administrative or Management Board.  The boards consist of representatives of the Member States and the European Commission. Members may also include representatives appointed by the European Parliament or representatives of the social partners.  Agencies are usually headed by an Executive Director who is appointed by the Board or by the Council of the EU and is responsible for all the agency’s activities and the correct implementation of its work programmes.

Common Foreign and Security Policy agencies

These agencies were established to fulfil technical, scientific and coordination tasks within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union.  The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the “second pillar” of the EU. At present, the European Community agencies are: the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC) and the European Union Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters agencies

These agencies assist the Member States in cooperation related to combating organised international crime. Cooperation in criminal matters forms the “third pillar” of the EU. At present, these agencies are: the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (EUROJUST), the European Police Office (EUROPOL) and the European Police College (CEPOL).

Executive Agencies

Executive agencies are set up for a certain period and are entrusted with tasks relating to the management of one or more Community programmes. They have to be located at the seat of the European Commission, in Brussels or in Luxembourg. At present there are the following executive agencies: the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERC), the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI), the Executive Agency for the Public Health Programme (PHEA), the Research Executive Agency (REA) and the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-TEA).

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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