Risk regulation and precaution in Europe and the United States: the case of bioinvasion

Ronit Justo-Hanani*, Tamar Dayan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The precautionary nature of risk regulation in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) is an ongoing debate. Theoretical contentions over ‘who is more precautionary’ confirm that the degree of relative precaution may lead to different levels of protection, but also suggest that precaution needs to be evaluated against different parts of the regulatory process. This paper addresses a new case of transatlantic split which has occurred with the adoption of the EU regulation on alien invasive species. This regulation aims to drive important changes at the trade–environment nexus and reflects Europe’s integrated policy approach to environmental, health, and safety risks. We have carried out a comparative analysis by examining parts of the regulatory process. We argue that differences in legal and policy frameworks, risk assessment, and risk management structures have left the EU and the US wide apart as to their risk governance ambitions. The EU exhibits more precautionary approach with regard to these parts, as compared to the US. Our finding suggests that policy divergence, as reflected in this case, is true for both stringency and regulatory process, expanding literature discussions on precaution in these systems. Yet, with the EU’s regulation being relatively new, there are still implementation issues up for debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalPolicy Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


FundersFunder number
Department of Public Policy
Steinhardt Museum for Natural History
Tel Aviv University


    • European union
    • Invasive species
    • Precautionary principle
    • Risk regulation
    • Trade–environment nexus
    • Transatlantic policy divergence


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