The Science, Law and Policy of Neonicotinoids and Bees: A New Test Case for the Precautionary Principle


European Journal of Risk Regulation

2013, n°2, pp.191-207

Departments: Tax & Law, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Precautionary principle, EU law, Risk regulation, Pesticides, EFSA, Transatlantic, Risk management, Risk assessment, Risk communication, EPA, USDA

Once more, while facing an analogous risk phenomenon affecting their predominantly homogeneous societal and economic interests, the two sides of the Atlantic seem to adopt diverging stances. Amid the publication of several new studies and a set of EFSA scientific opinions linking the use of the world’s most widely used pesticides to bee decline, the European Union adopted a temporary ban on their use. While the Commission does not expressly rely on it, its restrictive decision is clearly based on the controversial precautionary principle. Yet, as it is discussed in this article, the conformity of this decision with the requirements that determine the legal invocation of this principle remains doubtful