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Article

Asymmetry as an Instrument of Differentiated Integration

The Case of the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2016
Keywords asymmetry, comparative and EU law, differentiated integration, crisis, economic governance
Authors Giuseppe Martinico
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article offers a reflection on asymmetry as an instrument of differentiated integration in the current phase of the EU integration process. As for the structure, this work is divided into four parts: First, I shall clarify what I mean by asymmetry as an instrument of integration relying on comparative law. This comparative exercise is particularly useful because it allows us to acknowledge the strong integrative function performed by asymmetry in contexts different from but comparable to the EU system. Second, I shall look at EU law and recall the main features of asymmetry in this particular legal system. In the third part of the article I shall look at the implications of the financial crisis, which has increased the resort to asymmetric instruments. In the last part I shall deal with some recent proposals concerning the differentiated representation of the Eurozone. The idea of differentiated integration and that of asymmetry have been extended and adapted to many different processes by scholars over the years, but to avoid misunderstandings I would like to make clear that in this work I shall analyse those forms of asymmetries that are allowed and carried out only when respect for an untouchable core of integration is guaranteed. This is crucial to conceive asymmetry as an instrument of integration.


Giuseppe Martinico
Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law, Scuola Sant’Anna, Pisa; Research Fellow, Centre for Studies on Federalism, Turin; Honorary Professor at the European law research centre, University of Henan, Kaifeng, China. Article Completed on 23 February 2016. This article is part of the project "Gobernanza económica europea y transformación constitucional”, (MINECO, DER2014-57116P).
Article

ChAFTA, Trade, and Food Safety

When the Rubber Hits the Road

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2016
Keywords food safety laws in China and implementation issues, China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), agricultural trade, corporate social responsibility, collaborative governance
Authors Ying Chen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past decade, food safety has evolved into a compelling issue in China. The Chinese government has been committed to strengthening the regulatory framework. A series of laws and regulations ensuring the quality and safety of food in the interests of public health have been promulgated. However, a fairly comprehensive set of laws, along with harsh punishments, does not substantially deter food safety violations. Rather, foodborne illnesses continue to occur on a daily basis. How to improve food safety has become China’s national priority; it is also the main focus of this research. This article determines that one of the main obstacles to food safety is poor implementation of laws. It identifies the external and internal impediments to food safety governance in China. It further proposes an evolving series of potential solutions. Externally, weak enforcement undermines the credibility of the food safety laws. Internally, food manufacturers and distributors in China lack the sense of corporate social responsibility (CSR). To effectively reduce or even remove the external impediment, it is imperative to improve the overall governance in various sectors. As for the internal impediment, incorporating CSR principles into business operations is vital for food safety governance. In fact, the enforcement of many regional trade agreements, in particular, the enforcement of China–Australia FTA (ChAFTA) will largely increase market share of Australian food products in China. Undoubtedly, Chinese food businesses will face unprecedented competition. The pressure to gain competitive advantages in food markets yields an enormous change in motivation for Chinese food businesses. Chinese food companies will ultimately be forced to ‘voluntarily’ integrate CSR principles into their business operations. A significant change in the food sector is expected to be seen within the next decade. The article concludes that better practice in food safety governance in China requires two essential elements: a comprehensive regulatory and cooperative framework with essential rules and institutions, and an effective implementation mechanism involving both the public and private sectors.


Ying Chen
Dr. Ying Chen, Lecturer in Law, University of New England School of Law, Armidale, NSW2351, Australia. Email: ychen56@une.edu.au.
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