When called upon to regulate risk, the EU carries the threefold onus to (i) protect its people(s); (ii) ensure the functioning of the internal market; and also (iii) to allocate the resources available wisely and efficiently.
This creates a number of pressures and dilemmas for the EU, notably for the Commission when initiating legislation and for the EP and the Council when co-legislating.
According to a familiar script – faithfully narrated by Ragnar Lofstedt in his opening article –, the EU has, in recent years, been subscribing to a progressive ideal of regulation based on evidence. As a result, by making a commitment to the use of optimization tools, such as risk assessment and regulatory impact assessment, the EU has been gradually developing a European risk regulation model that seems to put the EU at the forefront of a wider move towards evidence-based policy-making. Given the historical affection of the EU integration process to technocratic modes of governance, this choice is not surprising.