Ploughing the Wrong Furrow

Sean Rickard // 24.10.2016

The precautionary principle provides non-farming interest groups with a pseudo-official means of influencing policy. The result is a drift towards overregulation and regulatory failures which are in conflict with the efficient working of the single market.

It is unlikely that the benefits of the current regulatory burden outweigh the costs. The EU’s precautionary approach discourages the development of technologies with even a low, theoretical probability of harm despite offering the likelihood of faster agricultural productivity growth. Attempts by authorities to demonstrate the positive net benefits of mandatory regulations are flawed because they do not take in the adverse effects for longer term technological advance and farm level operational efficiencies. The costs in terms of efficiency, competitiveness and living standards are likely to be high.

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