April 12. 2024. 11:12

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EFSA to ask Commission to ‘relaunch’ chief executive selection process

The management board of the EU’s food authority EFSA is ‘not satisfied’ with the outcome of the recruitment process for a new chief executive and will ask the European Commission to ‘relaunch’ it, the board’s chairman said in a statement on Thursday (29 February).

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) delivers scientific opinions on the hottest topics in the food system debate, such as pesticides, chemical substances used in food packaging and animal welfare.

The current head, Bernhard Url, is expected to leave in May after ten years at the helm of EFSA and the Commission, responsible for drawing up a shortlist of candidates, published the vacancy notice in May 2023.

EFSA’s management board was then responsible for appointing the future chief, but after a meeting on Wednesday (28 February), the board “was not satisfied with the outcome of the procedure,” said Chairman Aivars Bērziņš.

Bērziņš added that the agency will ask the European Commission to “relaunch” the recruitment process and that the board will decide on “the necessary interim arrangements” at a meeting in March.

Upcoming work

In the coming months, among other things, EFSA is expected to publish a scientific opinion assessing risk mitigation measures on farms using vaccines against the highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) virus in poultry.

The agency is also expected to give an opinion on the EU executive’s proposal for controversial, innovative types of genetically modified plants after the European Parliament sent a letter on 22 February asking for an examination of a report published in December by the French health authority (ANSES).

ANSES’s study questioned some of the European Commission’s criteria for classifying plant varieties obtained with these new genomic techniques (NGTs).

“The European Parliament, therefore, considers it opportune to request EFSA to draw up a scientific opinion on the analysis by ANSES,” reads the letter, signed by European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, adding that EFSA’s conclusions would be “useful to better inform” the work of the European Parliament.

The House adopted its amendments to the EU executive’s proposal on 7 February. It is up to member states to find an agreement on a common position and start negotiations with the MEPs.

Read more with Euractiv

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