The regulations granting the establishment of EU agencies were meant to ensure institutional independence in order to insulate everyday decision-making from political pressure, vested interests and political short-termism. However, recent events, including managerial resignations and the introduction of new rules concerning conflicts of interest, have brought renewed attention to the autonomy/independence debate. This article goes beyond the traditional de jure/de facto dichotomy of approaches to approaching the question of independence to consider perceptions of agency staff. It seeks to gauge the opinions of members of the European Medicine Agency’s Management Board with regard to agency autonomy, distinguishing between four types of independence: legal, financial, administrative, decision-making. It draws on data collected using questionnaires, and interpreted using the expert evaluation method, to rank the importance given to types of independence among sub-sets of stakeholders overseeing the EMA.
EU agencies, European Medicines Agency, autonomy, independence, management boards, perceptions
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