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Monday, 14 September 2009

EU policymaking: Rooted in science?

European policymakers face a difficult choice when authorising new technologies such as GMOs, as they often find themselves caught between conflicting expert safety advice and calls to respect the precautionary principle when scientific evidence is insufficient. EU policymaking is largely based on expertise and involves handling complex technical information at different levels. While such expert-based regulatory policy is seen by some as a guarantee of rational decision-making, it is sometimes perceived as technocratic and opaque. Since the mid-1990s, steps have been taken to improve the quality of science used in decision-making by establishing independent scientific committees and independent risk-assessment agencies. Examples of these include those in place for medicines and food. Since 2001, the debate on the role of scientific evidence in policymaking has been seen in a wider context of European governance and better regulation.

Source: Euractiv

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