Risk and EU law

Risk and EU law

Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz and Takis Tridimas

Risk and EU Law considers the multiple reasons for the increase in the types and diversity of risks, as well as the potential magnitude of their undesirable effects. The book identifies such reasons as; the openness of liberal societies; market competition; the constant endeavour to innovate; as well as globalization and the impact of new technologies. It also explores topics surrounding the social epistemology of risk observation and management, the role of science in political and judicial decision-making and transnational risk regulation and contractual governance.

Chapter 1: Risk and the regulatory State – various aspects regarding safety and security in the fields of technology and health

Klaus Vieweg

Subjects: law - academic, european law, regulation and governance


The topic of safety and security is a classic problem which, following the process of industrialization, continues to appear in a variety of new forms. Examples of current problems include risks arising from various sources, starting with toys and children’s jewellery and extending to the risk of infection in hospitals and while flying, as well as risks attached to nuclear power plants and international terrorism. Reactions to technical developments can be observed in the areas of business, law and in society in general. A good historical example is the founding of boiler monitoring organizations in Germany in the late 1800s, which was a direct result of frequent cases of boilers exploding. These organizations later became the Technische-Überwachungsvereine (TÜV), which are non-commercial organizations for the monitoring of technical installations. Industrial mass-production and globalization are two further relevant developments in the business world. These developments were accompanied by political decisions, for example to create a European single market. The matter of safety and security is a multidisciplinary topic the world over. In this chapter, however, as a German lawyer, I wish to concentrate mainly on the legal systems and practical experience in Germany and Europe. The most important decisions in the field of safety and security are made in the areas of politics, technology, economics and law. A considerable amount of background information is provided by persons and bodies in the areas of science, psychology, sociology, philosophy, ethics and history.