Supranational Regulation and Contested Accountability: The Case of GMO Risk Regulation in the European Union
Title: Supranational Regulation and Contested Accountability: The Case of GMO Risk Regulation in the European Union
Author: SKOGSTAD, Grace
Series/Report no.: EUI SPS; 2008/07
The regulation of genetically modified organisms in the EU has become embroiled in a tension between agency and fiduciary principles of delegated authority and the alternate understandings of political accountability they imply. Fiduciary principles have gained the upper hand in a regulatory process expected to legitimize GMO risk regulation by respecting agency principles of delegated authority. Amidst continuing scientific debate and uncertainty about the environmental safety of GM crops, the EU’s precautionary political culture of risk regulation adds to the controversy of relying on non-majoritarian bodies to regulate GMO risks. Albeit contentious, the fiduciary model of regulation is compatible with the external accountability commitments of EU member states not only to EU law but also to fellow WTO signatories. The incentives, and indeed imperatives, to embrace fiduciary principles of authoritative decision-making explain why the European Commission is exercising its legal authority to authorize some GMOs on the advice of its scientific advisors but without the support of a qualified majority of member states.
Subject: Accountability; Genetically Modified Organisms; Supranational Regulation; Risk Regulation; Fiduciary Logic of Delegation; Agency Logic of Delegation
Type of Access: openAccess