European governance still technocratic? New modes of governance for food safety regulation in the European Union

Robert Fischer


This article contributes to the debate on technocratic governance in the European Union. It examines the relationship between scientific expertise and policy-making in the foodstuffs sector and scrutinises the hypothesis that the European Commission follows a technocratic model in the food safety regulation, and that this model is applied to the new European food law. To this end, a typology is developed to distinguish between decisionist, technocratic and reflexive governance. Interestingly, the findings of this article suggests that there is not only a shift from technocratic toward decisionist but also to reflexive governance. To some extent, this change can also be observed in the general debate on European governance. In conclusion it is argued that tensions arise between the three ideal-type models of scientific expertise for policy-making, and that the European model is contested by the international level.


ideas; institutionalisation; non-majoritarian institutions; regulatory politics; risk regulation; democratization; governance; expert committees; European Commission; European Agencies; European Food Agency; EFA

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