Written Q&A to EU Commission – EFSA: dealing with conflicts of interest

◊ P-012080/2011: Written question to the Commission by Marc Tarabella (S&B), Member of the European Parliament:

The European Ombudsman recently confirmed that the strict rules in place to prevent conflicts of interest at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) were not enforced when one of EFSA’s officials left to take up a position in the private sector.

— What is the Commission planning to do in response to this criticism of EFSA for failing to comply with the appropriate procedures?

— How does the Commission intend to ensure that EFSA’s assessments of potential conflicts of interest are sufficiently rigorous in future?

Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

(6 January 2012)

Regulation (EC) 178/2002(1) of the European Parliament and of the Council established the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as an independent European Union agency.

EFSA responded in writing(2) to the European Ombudsman on 13 December 2011 where it acknowledged his draft report and recommendations relating to a specific case dating back to 2008/2009.

EFSA informed the Ombudsman that it has thoroughly revised and improved its internal rules since 2008/2009 and recognised the need to address aspects relating to public perception of potential conflicts of interest regarding staff appointments.

EFSA also referred to its intention to adopt a new Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision Making Processes, including a section dedicated to staff members before the end of 2011.

EFSA will in future be in a position to implement its obligations deriving from Article 16(2), 17 and 19 of the Staff Regulations.

(1) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.

(2)http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/edinterviews/docs/corporateombudsman111213.pdf

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