This book investigates the role of law in confronting major societal transformations embodied by the emergence of nanotechnologies. Taking the case of the European Union, it explores who the key decision-makers in the regulation of nanotechnologies are and how they take decisions. The questions are explored through two distinct case studies: the food and chemicals sectors. The book charts an incremental retreat of the European Union to its executive powers, including `soft law' measures such as agencies' guidelines or implementing measures. This, the author argues, results in the Union's fundamental democratic control mechanisms, the EU legislature and the Court of Justice of the EU, being circumvented. The book recommends several immediate proposals to reform EU risk regulation, advocating a greater reliance on the European Parliament and outlining measures to increase the transparency of guidance drafting by EU agencies. This important work provides a timely examination of how emerging technologies pose both regulatory and democratic challenges.
Tanja Ehnert is a legal officer at the EU Ombudsman.
1. Setting the Scene: Nanotechnologies and their Regulation at the EU Level I. What are Nanotechnologies? II. Between Nanomania and Nanophobia III. Risk as a Rationale for Regulatory Intervention IV. The EU's Approach to the Regulation of Nanotechnologies: A Bird's Eye Perspective V. Conclusion 2. Regulating in Today's Nano Society I. Embedding the Regulation of Nanotechnologies in Its Societal Context II. Regulating in Today's Nano Society: Two Theoretical Accounts III. Translating the Debate to the EU Level IV. Conclusion and Next Steps 3. Analysing EU (Risk) Regulation through the Lenses of Regulatory Capacity I. Defining the Object of Analysis: `EU Regulation' II. Putting on the Analytical Lenses of Regulatory Capacity III. Conclusion 4. Nanotechnologies in Food I. Nanotechnologies in Food II. The EU Regulatory Framework for Nanotechnologies in Food III. Analysing the EU's Regulation of Nanofoods through the Lenses of Regulatory Capacity IV. Conclusion 5. Nanotechnologies in Chemicals I. Nanotechnologies in Chemicals II. The EU Regulatory Framework for Nanotechnologies in Chemicals III. Analysing the EU's Regulation of Nanochemicals through the Lenses of Regulatory Capacity IV. Conclusion 6. Conclusion I. Regulating in Today's Nano Society: The Point of Departure II. Spotlight on the EU Executive III. Main Findings of the Critical Analysis or the Pitfalls of `New Governance' IV. Repercussions for the Meta-Theoretical Level: Is `New Governance' `Better Governance'? V. Strengthening Regulatory Capacity: Proposals for Reform at the Micro Level VI. Three Facades of EU Risk Regulation VII. Outlook