Whilst much research has already been undertaken on EU agencies and the agencification of EU executive governance, this has often been conducted within single disciplines. TARN integrates a multi- and interdisciplinary perspective to encourage in-depth research on agencification of EU executive governance.

This approach combined with insights from practitioners will lead to a better understanding of the EU, and will contribute to excellence, quality and democratization within EU scholarship and practice.

TARN research is currently undertaken on the following themes:

1. EU Agencies and Judicial Review;
TARN addresses the issue of the control over the EU agencies’ activities by judicial bodies. EU agencies today are called upon to make relevant political, economic and social choices even in highly sensitive and contentious domains. However, the complexity of the assessments carried out and the complexity of the levels in which these bodies operate often shield these bodies from a full scrutiny of their activities. In the light of this, some questions remain unanswered: how do courts review the acts of the EU agencies? How intense is their scrutiny over the discretion of EU agencies? Are courts an appropriate forum to review complex technical assessments? What are the gaps in the judicial review of EU agencies’ acts, especially from the perspective of individuals? Is the principle of effective judicial protection sufficiently protected? Does it ensure a sufficient degree of legitimacy for the conferral of powers to EU agencies? In the negative, how could the current system of judicial review be reformed in order to address the specificities of EU agencies?

2. The Legitimacy of EU Agencies;
TARN investigates the legitimacy of EU Agencies focusing on three main research lines:

(i) delegated and implementing legislation in the EU,

(ii) the mechanism of the Boards of Appeal of EU agencies, and

(iii) the mechanism and objective of regulatory cooperation in the EU’s new generation free trade agreements.

In the past, TARN stimulated specific research on the following four themes:

1. Conceptualizing research on agencification of EU executive governance;
TARN took stock of the agency research and conceptualised the phenomenon of agencification.

2. Constitutionality, powers and legitimacy of EU agencies;
TARN addressed various concerns as regards the constitutionality and legitimacy of EU agencies. For example, what is the EU agencies’ constitutional position in the Treaties. What is the role of agencies’ role within the institutional balance, in view of their hybrid character and their dual harnessing of expertise and administrative capacity outside the executive competence of the EU Commission? What constitutes the legitimacy of agency-like bodies? What does the concept of independence entail? What can be learned from institutions such as the European Central Bank? In what way is the hierarchical production of knowledge by agencies a problem or advantageous for European integration?

3. International dimensions of European agency activity;
TARN moreover investigated the international dimension of agency activity, a phenomenon that has been largely underexplored in the literature. What is the legal character of the various forms of agreements that agencies conclude with third countries and international organisations? Has their increasingly global competence brought about a shift in the EU’s institutional balance? Are globalisation processes leading to the establishment of transnational agencies and processes of knowledge production?

4. EU agencies’ functional operation and effectiveness;
Lastly, TARN addressed various concerns as regards EU agencies’ effectiveness and functional operation. In their great diversity, agencies raise one common question: how might they best be organised in order to furnish optimal efficacy? The question of effectiveness extends beyond issues of technical capacity to encompass instead internal organisational issues, such as budgetary sufficiency, protocols of understanding between European and national actors, issues of staff management, as well as internal structures of good governance.