EU agencies are distinct bodies from the EU institutions – separate legal entities set up to perform specific tasks under EU law.
There are over 40 agencies, divided into 5 groups:
Decentralised agencies carry out technical, scientific or managerial tasks that help the EU institutions make and implement policies. They also support cooperation between the EU and national governments by pooling technical and specialist expertise from both the EU institutions and national authorities. Decentralised agencies are set up for an indefinite period and are located across the EU.
Agencies have been set up to carry out very specific technical, scientific and management tasks within the framework of European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy.
These agencies help the European Commission manage EU programmes. They are set up for a fixed period and must be based in the same location as the Commission (either Brussels or Luxembourg).
These were created to support the aims of the European Atomic Energy Community Treaty (EURATOM), which are to: coordinate national nuclear research programmes, for peaceful purposes provide knowledge, infrastructure and funding for nuclear energy ensure sufficient and secure supplies of nuclear energy.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) – based in Hungary – is an independent EU body which seeks to promote Europe’s ability to develop new technologies, by pooling its best scientific, business and education resources.