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The glyphosate saga and the fading democratic legitimacy of European Union risk regulation

Leonelli, Giulia Claudia ORCID: 0000-0001-9567-3280 (2018) The glyphosate saga and the fading democratic legitimacy of European Union risk regulation. Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, 25 (5). 582 - 606. ISSN 1023-263X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1023263X18796981


This article endeavours to explore the glyphosate saga through the prism of a socially acceptable risk approach to the governance of public health and environmental risks in the European Union. After a brief overview on the nature and rationale of socially acceptable risk approaches, the article analyses the controversial case of glyphosate’s renewal of approval, casting light on the position of the agencies and institutions involved throughout the risk assessment and risk management phases. Against this overall backdrop, the article deconstructs the European Commission’s artificial legal narrative on ‘sound’ science and glyphosate and contends that the Commission had scientific and legal grounds, as well as compelling political reasons, to accept the requests put forward by the ‘Ban Glyphosate’ European Citizens’ Initiative and the European Parliament. The Commission relied on a narrow evidence-based approach, disregarding the widespread public perception that the uncertain risks posed by glyphosate are socially unacceptable, and ignoring the argument that the existing risk management measures are insufficient to achieve the intended EU level of public health and environmental protection. In so doing, the Commission has ultimately lost a crucial opportunity to re-legitimise and re-democratise EU risk regulation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2023 08:33
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 00:01

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