The Legitimacy of New Risk Governance: A Critical View in Light of the EU's Approach to Nanotechnologies in Food
European Law Journal, 2014, Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2014
Date Written: November 13, 2013
The objective of this article is to draw attention to legitimacy concerns raised by tendencies in EU risk regulation to supplement legislation with alternative regulatory options that are commonly captured under the umbrella term of ‘new governance’. To this end, the risk regulation of nanotechnologies in food serves as an empirical test case. The rise of nanotechnologies affects various societal actors and constitutes a highly controversial development due to the persistence of scientific uncertainties. To reach a compromise in the legislative process is, given the contradicting knowledge claims, a contentious and time-consuming undertaking. This article, hence, shows that controversial decisions are not necessarily taken through the legislature — the European Parliament and the Council — but are settled, outside the political arena, in guidance documents or via non-legislative acts. This article argues, relying on an understanding of legitimacy borrowed from Habermas and Scharpf, that despite ‘new governance’ ambitions in this regard, the legitimacy of these measures is at best controversial.
Keywords: EU Governance, Risk Regulation, Legitimacy, Nanotechnology, Food Safety
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