Risk Analysis and Governance in EU Policy Making and Regulation – An introductory guide

Author: Bernardo Delogu

In this book, the author presents a number of concepts and methods of risk analysis that are most relevant to the development and application of EU risk policies and legal measures. It focuses on three types of risks: health risks, safety risks and environmental risks.

Throughout the book, the author starts with the concept of risk and risk analysis, and continues with the treatment of risk management, risk communication and ultimately risk governance. The book concludes with a summary chapter of the most important issues that were dealt with throughout the work.

But what are the issues that, in addition to a lot of things that had to be treated as a good principle applied to policy, were the most important aspects of this work?

Firstly, there are the risk management principles and criteria that the EU uses as a regulatory body. The first is the prudence principle (PP: precautionary principle). A second is the subsidiarity principle. The third is the proportionality principle. Each of these principles must always be justified. For example, excessive irresponsible caution can not be approved.

Other points are the risk-risk evaluation, the cost-benefit evaluation and the difference between hazards and risks. The latter was best explained up to now in this book. Hazard is a property of eg a material or a being “in itself” while a risk is a threat in which the environmental situation is taken into account. For example a cheese Camembert and the listeria bacteria. The listeria bacteria itself is a life-threatening bacterium. In an ‘environment’ of camembert, however, she is not risky for people. (https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/goledsud)

Furthermore, the relationship with stakeholders is very important for the EU. In doing so, they apply the principles of participation, openness and liability, effectiveness and ensuring systematic consultation processes across EU services, including evaluations and quality control.

The most important message that other governments and managers of companies can draw from the book is that scientific research on the risks should and should not be done independently of the policy makers. Although the scientists need to be able to do their work independently of political preferences and accompanying preconditions, it is important that they share the results with politics so that they can add values ​​other than scientific correctness, without, however, going against the principle of prudence. The policymaker must also be able to accept that science does not always give the desired answer, or even has an unambiguous answer. Everyone, the scientists, the risk managers and the decision makers, must know their own role and that of the others.

Manu Steens

Manu works at the Flemish Government in risk management and Business Continuity Management. On this website, he shares his own opinions regarding these and related fields. Since 2012, he has been working at the Crisis Centre of the Flemish Government (CCVO), where he has progressed in BCM, risk management, and crisis management. Since August 2021, he has been a knowledge worker for the CCVO. As of January 2024, he works at the Department of Chancellery and Foreign Affairs of the Flemish Government. Here, he combines BCM, risk management, and crisis management to create a tailored form of resilience management to meet the needs of the Flemish Government.

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