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Beyond Technocratic Governance: The Case of Biotechnology

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Decision-making processes within the European Union are often held to be technocratic in nature. This article challenges this assumption upon conceptual and empirical grounds. Whilst in the European regulatory field of biotechnology, politicians often seek to define political issues as technical questions and so may successfully evade necessary but time-consuming legislative processes through the means of Comitology; the diverse mixture of national, supranational, technocratic and political interests within the Commission, Council, Parliament and committees, determines that social and ethical criteria do play a role in European regulation. Relating such specific findings to the broader question of European governance, it might thus be argued that the European Union is more than a technocratic regime, and does more than promote negative integration. However, the ‘political’ within European decision-making needs nonetheless to be strengthened to ensure the necessary and continued inclusion within such regulatory processes of social and ethical rationalities to complement the economic rationality of the internal market.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin

Publication date: September 1, 1997


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