This article questions the idea that the EU is a pure regulatory power based on supranational delegation of competence from the Member States. It claims the insufficiency of this single paradigm to explain the developments of EU law and the need to integrate it with recognition of the constitutional foundations of EU law.

The analysis demonstrates this by focusing on a specific case study of institutional design in the internal market integration: the delegation of powers to EU agencies. By recognising the judicial evolution of the so-called Meroni doctrine concerning the non-delegation of powers to EU agencies, the article unveils that, legally speaking, the enhancement of EU agencies’ powers takes place in the autonomous constitutional framework of the EU legal order.

This constitutional foundation of EU law shall therefore complement the supranational delegation paradigm. Only in this wider approach can the legitimacy of EU agencies’ powers be framed and accommodated in the composite nature of the EU as a Union of Member States. On these grounds, the final remarks highlight the need for a more comprehensive paradigm for EU law that can explain these different aspects of EU law under a common approach based on a wider public law discourse.

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