Shifting executive power in EU migration policy: joint implementation and steering through EU agencies

Executive power in EU migration policy is shifting. The theory of executive federalism broadly underpinned its initial implementation design. Instead, an increasingly integrated administration is emerging. EU agencies play a key role in this transformation. I analyse patterns of joint implementation, with experts deployed by EU agencies involved in areas such as the processing of asylum claims, and return. I scrutinize the emergence of agency functions which hold steering potential. These developments create obvious tensions with the agencies’ governance structures which are largely intergovernmental, and influenced by strong regulators. I reflect on how these internal governance structures can be squared with independence. Developments also bring to sharp relief the challenges of fundamental rights oversight and accountability. I comment on how these can be ensured in an evolving administrative landscape.