Networks of Regulatory Agencies in Europe

  • Saskia Lavrijssen
  • Leigh Hancher


This chapter analyses the problems which arise with regard to the political and legal accountability of independent national regulatory authorities which work together with each other and with the Commission in the European networks of national regulators or the ‘European networks plus’. It devotes attention to the political monitoring by and accountability to the European Parliament and/or the national parliaments at the European and national level, respectively, and to the potential role of judicial oversight by the European Court of Justice and the national courts. A distinction is consistently drawn between the present situation of more informal co-operation between the national regulatory authorities in the European networks and the strengthened co-operation within the ‘European networks plus’. As part of the reform of European legislation in the network sectors, the Commission is currently looking at the possibilities for uniform application of European law in the member states and looking at ways of improving the co-ordination between the different national regulatory authorities. The Commission wishes to increase its own ex ante powers and is examining whether the role of the European networks of national regulators could be further strengthened by the creation of ‘European networks plus’. It recently published a proposal for a Regulation founding a European Agency for the Co-operation between Energy Regulators. Owing to the hybrid nature of the European networks and their actions, there are a number of ‘accountability gaps’ both in the present situation and in the proposals for the ‘European networks plus’. The chapter concludes with a number of proposals for improving the accountability of the ‘European networks plus’.


Electronic Communication National Court Network Agency Political Accountability National Regulatory Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Tilburg Law School, Tilburg Law and Economics CenterTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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