Engaging with Global Standards in European Union Agriculture: an Exploration of the Governance Field

In an era when consumers/citizens are concerned how agriculture produces food and fibre, public and private actors have sought to address such concerns through the introduction of standardisation schemes which have acquired an international dimension. This presentation will explore the extent of EU engagement with global agricultural standards in two areas, namely biofuels and animal welfare. Themes to be developed include: (i) difficulties in categorising whether the regulatory interface is public, private or ‘hybrid’, with potential legal consequences; (ii) conformity with conventional principles of governance; and (iii) the degree to which the measures are effective to inform consumer/citizen choice. Further, there will be the opportunity to contrast the position between, on the one hand, a relatively mature system as currently in place for biofuels and, on the other hand, EU engagement with animal welfare standardisation where work remains more in progress.