The EU Green Deal and the Transformations of the European Administrative System: Does the 'Epistemic Leadership' of the Scientific Advisory Board Push the Agency Model over the Sunset Boulevard?

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Table of Contents: I. Setting the scene. – II. The (more than) discreet charm of EU agencies. – III. The evolution of the European regulatory space: the EU Green Deal as a transformative project. – IV. The European Environment Agency within the institutional architecture of the Green Deal: role and functions. – V. The EU Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change as a multifunctional independent body: a taxonomy and its implications. – VI. The “external” dimension: increasing cross-fertilisation of climate change governance. – VII. The “internal” dimension: a thorny cohabitation with the European Environment Agency. – VIII. The integration of independent scientific expertise into the regulatory process: legitimising force or disputable “epistemic leadership”? – IX. Conclusions.

Abstract: The Article aims to investigate the relevance of the EU agency model in the evolving European legal order and test its enduring ability to provide a functional and normative response to the complex challenges the EU is facing, first and foremost the achievement of climate neutrality, the macro-objective at the heart of the European Green Deal (EGD). By its long-term vision, latitude and regulatory effort, the latter has the capacity to determine a deep impact on the EU and its regulatory space. The analysis of the dynamics, governance arrangements, policy options and legal developments that characterise the EGD can thus represent an interesting “litmus test” for measuring more general trends and transformations in the European legal order and, in cascade, its administrative system. In light of these premises, the essence of the argument is as follows. Within the climate neutrality regulatory framework, a subtle functional downsizing of the European Environment Agency occurred due to the recent creation of the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, a multifunctional independent scientific body that should act as a point of reference for the EU on climate change issues. While testifying to the Union’s ever-growing confidence in the independence formula, now experienced in climate neutrality realm, its establishment represents a significant and challenging development, capable of deeply impacting future EU climate policy-making, yet also triggering a series of tensions within the EGD political project.

Keywords: EU Agencies – European Green Deal – EU Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change – climate neutrality governance – political salience of climate change measures – independent scientific climate expertise.

European Papers, Vol. 8, 2023, No 2, pp. 879-900
ISSN 2499-8249
- doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/692

* PhD Candidate in Administrative Law, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna,


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