Regulating the European Risk Society

  • Alberto Alemanno


This chapter examines how the European Union is addressing the challenges brought about by the emergence of a “risk society.” After reconstructing the genesis and evolution of EU risk regulations, i.e. regulations aimed at the protection of health, safety, and the environment, it identifies the main features of the EU approach towards risk. Although the EU institutions have not adopted a harmonized and consistent analytical approach to risk, notably to scientific risk assessment—given that it is conducted by different bodies following diverging methods—it is possible to discern some common and distinctive features in the risk analysis framework that has been gradually adopted to manage an ever-wider range of societal risks (such as food safety, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, crop protection, and GMOs). The chapter argues that, by subscribing to a progressive ideal of regulation based on expertise, an embryonic European risk regulation model is taking shape and developing today. Yet a tension between the necessity for a rational, evidence-based decision-making and the wider demand for a flexible, precautionary-oriented regulatory approach represents the defining feature of the EU decision-making paradigm of risk regulation.


Precautionary Principle Risk Regulation Plant Protection Product Risk Analysis Model Pfizer Animal Health 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HEC (École des Hautes Études Commerciales)ParisFrance

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