March 21, 2017
The proposed comitology reform would allow the Commission to shelter itself under Member States’ umbrella. Possibly due to lack of courage, the Commission is effectively trying to return to the pre-Lisbon system, even though it favoured abandoning this system to increase its power over implementing measures.
Confronted with publicly sensitive issues, the Commission wants the Council of Ministers to cover it. Politicising EU choices on controversial topics like GMOs, endocrine disruptors and glyphosate is not shocking in itself, provided that the political decision-making is guided by the scientific analysis of the agencies created for this purpose – in this case the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
However, we are seeing the very opposite. Far from reinforcing the agencies’ activities, everything is being done to reduce their credibility and de facto deny the validity of their opinions. The recent ECHA opinion on glyphosate has been denounced by some journalists and many NGOs. They claim ECHA ignored evidence recently uncovered in the USA that Monsanto allegedly tried to conceal the supposed carcinogenic character of its product. They also claim there were conflicts of interest benefiting industry.
This constant criticism of EU agencies cannot go on. The Commission should stand behind them publicly and treat their conclusions as the basis of the decisions it takes. If there are conflicts of interest, the Commission should get rid of any persons implicated, while defending any who are wrongly accused.Daniel Gueguen