EFSA scrutinised at ENVI committee meeting

At the 5 June meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), the representative of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) responded to the presentation on the organisation's transparency performance, as well as to questions posed by MEPs.
Marton Kottmayer,

The Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies released its report on the Independence and transparency policies of EFSA in April. Ellen Vos, co-author of the report was invited to the 5 June ENVI committee meeting to present its summary and highlights.

The performance of efsa was judged as overall positive, but the department provided recommendations for further improvement. Prof. Vos highlighted the importance of defining the rules applicable to the experts of Competent organisations in Member States (also known as article 36 organisations). Doing so would reinforce EFSA’s re-contextualisation as – as Prof Vos put it – “inbetweener” between European institutions and member states, a position which, the department argues, allows improved transparency and independence through decentralisation. While EuChemS is not an “article 36 organisation”, it is an academic stakeholder of EFSA, hence policy changes within the agency may be relevant.

Dirk Detken, representing EFSA expressed the agency’s thanks for the report. He emphasized that – alongside another report, commissioned by EFSA, and expected to be completed by December 2023 – this report will be taken into consideration when deciding about policy reforms, as part of the dialogue with stakeholders. MEPs also took opportunity to address both EFSA, and Dr, Vos about additional concerns about the agency. The committee members were interested in the agency’s scientific integrity, the information provided to it by stakeholders, the implications of “renatiolalisation” and the effect of other regulations on EFSA’s workload.

Preceding the discussion with EFSA, the committee meeting also hosted a presentation and discussion on the 2022 European State of the Climate report by Copernicus.

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