Parlement européen, Question pour réponse écrite E-003411/19 à la Commission de James Wells, 23 octobre 2019 – L’influence des scientifiques étrangers sur les politiques agricoles de l’UE

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

Texte de la question :

« European media have reported concerns about the growing influence of foreign scientists, in particular scientists from the RussianFederation, on EU agricultural policy regarding the regulation of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Forinstance, media publications have stated that Russian scientists Alexander Panchin and Mikhail Gelfand may be engaged in alobbying campaign to change EU legislation concerning genetically modified foods and new plant breeding techniques(1).

Panchin and Gelfand regularly publish articles in European scientific journals, in which they write about the use of GMO productsand harshly criticise opponents of GMOs. Gelfand is a public official and deputy director for scientific issues at the Russian State’sInstitute for Information Transmission Problems. Panchin also works at the same institute.

At the same time, Gelfand is the scientific editor for the European journals PeerJ, Biology Direct and the Journal of ComputationalBiology. He is also on the editorial boards of a number of European scientific journals.

1 Does the Commission consider it absolutely unacceptable that foreign scientific specialists should engage in lobbying to seek toinfluence GMO regulation in the EU? If not, why not?

2 Can it confirm that Russian public official scientists do not influence EU legislative regulation through their presence on theeditorial boards of scientific journals? If not, why not? »

Réponse donnée par Ms Kyriakides au nom de la Commission le 15 Janvier 2020

« As mentioned on the Commission’s website on the Transparency Register(2), theEU institutions interact with a wide range of groupsand organisations representing specific interests. The Commission is committed to being open about the groups and organisationswith which it interacts. To this effect, the Transparency Register has been set up to answer core questions such as what interests arebeing pursued, by whom and with what budgets. In addition, since 2014 the Commission publishes information on meetings heldbetween Commissioners, their cabinet members and Directors-General with interest representatives and, in order for those meetingsto be held, the interest representatives have to be registered in the Transparency Register. The entity, where the two scientistsmentioned by the Honourable Member work, is not registered.

The EU authorisations of genetically modified organisms are based on the risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), which is an independent agency. The scientists mentioned by the Honourable Member are not among the experts thatcontribute to the work of EFSA. Furthermore, during its risk assessments, EFSA critically analyses the data published in scientificjournals(3). » and

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