Scientific Committees and EU Policy: The Case of SCHER

  • Johan Eriksson
  • Mikael Karlsson
  • Marta Reuter


This chapter analyses the science–policy interface in EU chemicals policy, with a particular focus on the relationship between Risk Assessment and Risk Management. This is achieved through a case study of SCHER – the scientific committee responsible for assessing chemical risks in the EU. Thus this chapter also makes a contribution to the study of ‘committee governance’, and the politics of expertise in the EU more generally. This study has shown that, by and large, SCHER seems to be able to maintain a traditional role as scientific peer-reviewer, with some, though seldom any direct or significant, impact on policy decisions made by the Commission. Views on risk assessment and particularly on risk management vary among the committee members, with some voicing industry-friendly ideas and others supporting ‘green’ visions, including the precautionary principle. However, SCHER almost always reaches consensus on its opinions. An unexpected result, however, is how managing DG Sanco officers tried to control the publication of this study, which illustrates a political fear of policy studies such as the present one.


Experts Policy Risk SCHER Science 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Södertörn UniversityHuddingeSweden
  2. 2.NaturskyddsföreningenStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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