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Agencies in the European Union Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: Frontex, Europol and Eurojust


This study concerns the role of agencies (Europol, Eurojust and Frontex) in the European Union’s (EU) Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). Given the sustained interest of governments in the development of this most dynamic policy area in the EU, the investigator expects to generate significant policy-relevant findings that will have an important impact on both academic and governmental debates. The rapid development of the AFSJ in recent years has led to an expansion of the scholarly literature on this topic. However, with its focus on policy outputs and the role of the main EU institutions, this literature has tended to largely overlook ‘agencies’ (Europol, Eurojust and Frontex) in the AFSJ. This is very problematic given the increasing importance of both the AFSJ in the EU and the role of these agencies within the AFSJ. Consequently, this research project is crucial in order to fill this gap in the EU scholarship. In order to do so, it draws upon existing literature on agencies and new governance in the EU, which has not yet been applied to Frontex, Eurojust and Europol. This project is also based on the theoretical model of the ‘principal-agent’ relationship, where ‘principals’ (EU Member States and institutions) delegate specific powers to ‘agents’ (here, the agencies). The project will test four hypotheses derived from the literature on agencies, i.e. on control and autonomy, legitimacy, and coordination. The research project is based on the principle of methodological triangulation between, mainly, the relevant secondary literature, EU official documents and semi-structured elite interviews.

Call for proposal

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Via Dei Roccettini 9
50014 Fiesole

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Serena Scarselli (Mrs.)
EU contribution
€ 165 739,40