European Union: the Cost of Non-Agencies

At the end of 2016, upon request by the European Parliament’s Budgetary Affairs Committee, the Directorate general for internal policies has published a report “The cost of Non-Agencies with Relevance to the Internal Market” assessing the costs and benefits due to the existence of the EU’s decentralised agencies.

The analysis focuses on seven key-agencies: the European Union Intellectual Property Office, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, the European Banking Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Insurance & Occupational Pensions Authority.


Credits image: European Parliament

Building on the consultations with key stakeholders in the Member States and the seven agencies themselves, the research assesses what would happen if the EU agencies ceased to exist; accordingly, it presents three possible scenarios, showing the current and forecast cost of the seven EU agencies, the functions that could potentially be transferred to national authorities, as well as the most likely scenario for each of the seven EU agencies.

The research suggests that it is considerably less costly – both for Member States, end-users and the Commission – to carry out the tasks assigned to the agencies at the EU level than by the MS. Namely, having decentralized EU agencies instead of national authorities entails savings of EUR 78 million to the EU budget (and therefore to Member States). Moreover, if the Member States took over the functions of the seven agencies, the additional costs to national authorities would be around EUR 150 million to EUR 200 million. However, the most significant potential impacts arising from a ‘non-agencies’ situation would be on companies seeking to trade in the Single Market and on the stability of Europe’s financial system.

In conclusion, the empirical analysis confirms the added value of having decentralized EU agencies, already recognised by national authorities, concerned third parties and internationally.

(Maria Sole Porpora)