Legitimacy through Precaution in European Regulation of GMOs? From the Standpoint of Governance as Analytical Perspective
TRANSNATIONAL STANDARDS OF SOCIAL PROTECTION: CONTRASTING EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE, C. Joerges & P. F. Kjaer, eds., RECON Report No. 4, Oslo, 2004
272 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2009
Date Written: October 2008
In this paper I analyse the role that the precautionary principle plays in ensuring legitimacy in the EU authorisation regime for GMOs by using the ‘governance’ perspective as analytical frame. The idea of legitimacy, as embodied in this principle, requires creating a balance between scientific and political legitimacy in the decision-making of authorisation. The current legislative framework, although in principle providing for an all-inclusive network structure, presupposes a narrow ‘sound science’ notion of precaution. It therefore fails to ensure the balance between scientific considerations and ‘other legitimate factors’ such as ethical or socio-economic concerns. Unless a more deliberative approach to precaution is adopted at Community level, a new moratorium on bio-tech products will be the ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over EU regulation in this area.
Keywords: EU risk regulation, governance, legitimacy, precaution
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