Risk Regulation, GMO's, and the Challenges to Deliberation in EU Governance - Politicization and Scientification as Co-Producing Trends

Revised version in C. Joerges & C. Glinski (eds) The European Crisis and the Transformation of Transnational Governance –Authoritarian Managerialism versus Democratic Governance, Hart Publishing, 2014 Forthcoming

Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance Research Paper No. 2014-03

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2014-21

42 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014

See all articles by Maria Weimer

Maria Weimer

Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, University of Amsterdam

Date Written: February 24, 2014

Abstract

This paper analyzes the problems of EU risk regulation of agricultural biotechnology through the lens of deliberative theories of EU law and governance, such as deliberative supranationalism and experimentalist governance. Previous research had suggested that the GMO issue is not conductive to deliberation in both Council of Ministers and comitology because of its high politicisation. This paper argues that another equally salient factor is the scientification of the EU authorization process. Scientification stands for the Commission’s overreliance on regulatory science, and therefore on epistemic legitimacy as the sole basis for risk management. Given the deadlock of comitology in this field, scientification is exacerbated by a reversion to top-down regulation by the Commission. As a result, political responsibility for GMO authorisations gets lost. Through an in-depth analysis of both legal rules and institutional practices this contribution reframes the problem of GMO regulation as one of a precarious co-production between scientification and politicisation. It shows that both processes are mutually accelerative ultimately leading to a break down of dialog at EU level. This contradicts the assumption that deliberation is fostered by technocratic ‘behind closed door’ decision-making. In the GMO case the top-down imposition of epistemic authority has only increased politicization contributing to the de-legitimation of all EU institutions involved in GMO regulation (i.e. European Food Safety Authority, Commission, comitology committees, and Council of Ministers).

Keywords: risk regulation, GMOs, EU governance, deliberation, deliberative supranationalism, experimentalist governance

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Weimer, Maria, Risk Regulation, GMO's, and the Challenges to Deliberation in EU Governance - Politicization and Scientification as Co-Producing Trends (February 24, 2014). Revised version in C. Joerges & C. Glinski (eds) The European Crisis and the Transformation of Transnational Governance –Authoritarian Managerialism versus Democratic Governance, Hart Publishing, 2014 Forthcoming; Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance Research Paper No. 2014-03; Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2014-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2400553

Maria Weimer (Contact Author)

Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, University of Amsterdam ( email )

P.O.Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

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