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Agencies in EU Foreign Policy: RELEX-Agencification (Relex-Agencification)
Start date: Oct 1, 2012, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project examines a widespread, yet under-researched, trend in European politics, namely the transformation of EU foreign policy through processes of ‘agencification’. In what can be seen as a revolutionary move, an ever increasing number of European foreign policy tasks are being delegated to European agencies – that is, specialised and ‘depoliticised’ administrative structures – or, in other words, bureaucrats are increasingly becoming diplomats. Amongst many important questions, it is necessary to understand the causes and the consequences of such delegation of foreign policy tasks to European agencies. The project analyses this transformation process at the European Union (EU) level, using an original interdisciplinary analytical framework. It does so by focusing on the traditional core of foreign policy, which concerns security in both its internal and external dimensions. Therefore, at the EU level, 14 agencies and agency-like bodies dealing with security matters will be examined. As this process of delegation of an increasing number of foreign policy tasks to European security agencies, which has many potential important consequences, has received very little attention to date, the Research Fellow (RF) expects to generate significant findings that will have a major impact on academic and policy debates. In addition to much needed new empirical data on this process of agencification and its impact on EU foreign policy, the project will open up new theoretical horizons by building up bridges between rational choice and constructivist approaches.

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