The Politics of Risk and EU Governance of Human Material
Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 41-64, 2009
24 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2011 Last revised: 9 May 2016
Date Written: March 1, 2009
This article examines the politics of EU risk governance in relation to human material. It is argued that the political context has informed the way in which risks in relation to various types of human material have come to be defined as policy problems at EU level. In turn, this has influenced the design and/or persistence of institutional arrangements to manage such problems. It is further argued that this political context has resulted in a significant level of disconnection in risk governance in the area. This has happened in two ways. First, there has been a growing level of disconnection between institutional and stakeholder demands for a more expansive approach to risk governance in the area and the narrowly-circumscribed competence under Article 152(4)(a) EC, which permits the adoption of risk regulation regimes that set minimum standards of quality and safety in relation to blood, tissue/cells and organs. Second, it has led to the development of institutional arrangements that promote a bifurcated approach to risk governance, specifically in relation to blood and tissues/cells. Although a hybrid of traditional and new governance mechanisms have been employed to address this problem of disconnection, this has nevertheless added a further layer to already complex institutional arrangements for risk governance in the area. It is suggested that a more integrated approach to EU risk governance in relation to human material is needed. Implementing such an approach would contribute to greater clarity, transparency and accountability in decision-making processes, and this could enhance public trust in what is a politically-sensitive area of governance at EU level.
Keywords: risk, risk regulation, human biological materials, blood, tissue, organs, European Union
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