The appointment of independent authorities. Does it matter?

The paper analyses the existing models for appointing members of independent authorities in EU Member States, to assess whether appointment rules change according to the functions the authority is attributed. The diffusion of independent authorities firstly started in the US, where their functions mainly consist in regulating highly technical sectors, e.g. financial markets. In Europe, instead, many independent authorities are designed to provide an additional guarantee for citizens against State’s misconducts in sensitive sectors, like the electoral process. In the former model, independent authorities base their legitimacy on the expertise of their members, whereas in the latter their legitimacy primarily lies in the guarantees of independence enjoyed vis-à-vis the ruling majority. By analysing their respective systems of appointment, the paper seeks to establish whether there is a difference, as to the degree of independence, between regulatory and oversight independent authorities.