© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. The literature on EU agencies has examined the issue of political control and independence in EU agency design and in post-delegation. However, studies measuring and providing accounts for the political influence that the Commission, the member states and the European Parliament exert in decision-making across a wide sample of EU agencies are missing in the specialized literature. This article addresses this topic and poses the following questions: How influential is each of the main parent institutional actors on agency boards' decision-making? Do agency powers and policy properties affect political influence? Based on an online survey, documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews, this article combines a quantitative and a qualitative study identifying differentiated patterns of political influence by supranational and intergovernmental actors. Regulatory functions and saliency decrease the leverage of the Commission and the European Parliament, whereas complexity decreases the influence of the member states. Moreover, highly centralized and far-reaching regulatory activity affects institutional balances in post-delegation. Points for practitioners: The article is of interest to practitioners concerned with the issue of political control and the independence of EU specialized agencies. The article identifies certain conditions under which political influence by the main parent institutional actors on the boards of EU agencies is diminished. More specifically, the Commission and the European Parliament are less influential on the boards of salient and regulatory agencies, whereas the member states have reduced leverage on the boards of agencies undertaking highly complex activities. Agency policy properties affect the political influence of institutional actors unevenly depending on whether it is exercised by supranational or intergovernmental actors.
- European Union
- political influence