The Regulation of Risks and the Power of the People: Lessons from the BSE Crisis
The implementation of European law is widely regarded as a technical matter – primarily dealt with in intra-administrative procedures and removed from the impact of public opinion. In European risk regulation, however, public concern can easily become very important, to the point of dominating administrative logic. The BSE crisis is a case in point: it emphasises the need to regard policy implementation as a political process which develops through the tension between supranational legal norms, governmental interests and public concerns. It furthermore underlines that effectiveness and the social acceptance of rules must be viewed as two sides of one coin. If public concerns shall not become the Achilles’ heel of effective European risk regulation, the EC is well advised to attach increasing importance to the insight that effective law is inherently political law.
risk regulation; public opinion; BSE crisis; implementation; law; political science
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