Risk vs. Hazard and the Two Souls of EU Risk Regulation: A Reply to Ragnar Löfstedt
European Journal of Risk Regulation, Vol. 2, 2011
5 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011
Date Written: July 30, 2011
According to a familiar script, the EU has, in recent years, been subscribing to a progressive ideal of regulation based on evidence. Given the historical affection of the EU integration process to technocratic modes of governance, this choice is not surprising. Yet, as it emerges from the powerful j’accuse delivered by Löfstedt in his opening essay, the EU’s turn towards evidence-based regulation has been accompanied by a parallel trend towards a more flexible, precautionary-oriented approach vis-à-vis the government of risk. Although not necessarily anti-scientific, this other ‘soul’ of EU risk regulation is messy, pluralistic (it accepts ‘other legitimate factors’), and pragmatic (it is sensitive to public demand). In other words, in the EU risk decision-making the rational, technocratic soul is matched by another soul, which is less systematic, less predictable, in short, more human. In our view, to be fully apprehended, the ‘hazard vs risk’ debate should be measured against this dual nature of EU risk regulation.
Keywords: Risk Regulation, EU law, precautionary principle, other legitimate factors, hazard
JEL Classification: I18, K23, K32, K42, L51, L66
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