Trust as a potential turning point in EU regulatory bodies: Lessons from the food safety sector

Ixchel Pérez Durán (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Sesión 1, Sesión 1
Día: miércoles, 7 de septiembre de 2022
Hora: 10:30 a 12:15
Lugar: Aula B4 (24)

Previous regulation scholarship is concerned with regulatory authorities’ weak democratic legitimacy. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the state of the art in the literature on European Union (EU) agencies, and their main findings. In particular, we cover studies on different institutional characteristics of EU agencies, such as transparency, accountability, control, representation, independence, and the participation of stakeholders and interest groups. We also review previous work focused on reputation. In the second part of the article, we present credible commitment and trust as two dimensions that can act as potential turning points in the study of EU agencies. We show that there is a considerable gap in the literature that is worth filling. Under pressures of capacity and uncertainty, governments often delegate authority to expert institutions to act on their behalf. But trust is an important condition for such delegation. Thus, in the third part of this article, we examine the role of trust as a potential turning point in EU regulatory bodies. To illustrate, we analyze the case of the food safety sector in general, and the European Food Safety Authority in particular. Using data from the original dataset collected by the H2020 project Trust in Government and Regulation in Europe (TiGRE), we draw conclusions on the importance of studying perceptions of trust in regulatory agencies, as well as its determinants.

Palabras clave: regulación, confianza, agencias, Unión Europea