Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Open letter on the conflicts of interest with the seed industry of a national expert seconded to DG SANCO

  • Dansk
  • Nederlands
  • English
  • Suomi
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Ελληνικά
  • Italiano
  • Bokmål
  • Polski
  • Portuguese
  • Română
  • Slovenščina
  • Español
  • Svenska

To: Commissioner T. Borg

Cc: Commissioners D. Ciolos, J. Potočnik, Secretary General of the Commission C. Day

Dear Commissioner,

We are writing to you in order to express our concerns about the conflict of interests of Madame Isabelle Clément-Nissou, a national expert seconded from France to DG SANCO. She is now a ‘Policy Officer on Seed and Reproductive Material’ working to support the drafting of future legislation on these dossiers, notably the key upcoming review of the EU legislation on the Marketing of Seed and Plant Propagating Material (S&PM). In our view, Madame Clément-Nissou appears to be in a situation explicitly forbidden by rules on the secondment of national experts to the Commission which state: in order to ensure that the Commission's independence is not compromised by private interests, it should be stipulated that seconded national experts must come from a national, regional or local public administration or an IGO(public intergovernmental organization)." 1

Although Mrs. Clément-Nissou is supposed to be sent by the French Government, she was actually sent on behalf of GNIS (Groupement National Interprofessionnel des Semences), where she was Director of International Relations until September 2011 when she joined DG SANCO. The reason the French Agriculture Ministry sent her may have been because of the French administration's highly unusual relationship with GNIS: although this organisation is a private and commercial organisation representing the seed sector, it has been entrusted (since 1941) with the public service of controlling and monitoring seed quality as well as levying a tax on sales of seeds throughout France. Despite its public role, GNIS is a privately funded lobby group run by and staunchly defending the interests of the seed industry: the fact that this organisation has been entrusted to a public service does not make it a “national, regional or local public administration or an IGO. The fact that France has largely given away the direction of its seed policy to industry is problematic, but this situation should not be allowed to negatively influence the drafting of EU legislation.

We therefore ask you that the contract as seconded national expert of the person at stake is terminated and that appropriate action is taken to make sure that DG SANCO's work is not affected by conflicts of interests in the future.

With kind regards,

Ivan Mammana, Martin Pigeon
Researchers and campaigners at Corporate Europe Observatory

 

Polluters in Peru blog

Multi-sectoral civil society coalition calls for greater protections for consumers, journalists, whistleblowers, researchers and workers.
375 civil society organisations from across Europe have called on MEPs to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from the threats posed by the controversial TTIP talks.
In a joint open letter to the EU Commission, eight farmers', environmental and food safety organisations demand that products derived from new methods of genetic engineering for plants and animals should not escape GM risk assessment and labelling.
CEO, Compassion in World Farming, ARC2020, Friends of the Earth Europe and Via Campesina co-publish a brochure spelling out the threats of a potental Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to the future of good food and farming. Proponents of TTIP argue that it will increase trade leading to economic growth and jobs. But opponents have voiced many concerns, including its impact on food and farming on both sides of the Atlantic and its potential to underm ine a more sustainable food system. This brochure explains how TTIP will promote the industrial model of food and farming, further threatening the survival of small family farms, local food initiatives, standards for healthy and safe food, animal welfare, the environment, and public health.
Multi-sectoral civil society coalition calls for greater protections for consumers, journalists, whistleblowers, researchers and workers.
The Alliance for Lobby Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) has today launched two new publications aimed at improving ethics and transparency in the European Parliament.
Jan Eric Frydman arrives with a CV that reads like the dream biography of an international corporate player, and is set to have a key role in steering the Commissioner's approach to TTIP.
There are daily meetings between the financial lobby and the Commission, and they’re mainly about issues crucial to society at large. Despite this, the public is only able to access piecemeal information on what is discussed, and even then with unacceptable delays. Given the huge impact the financial sector has had on society, keeping this lobbying behind closed doors is deeply problematic. Transparency reform is needed.

Alternative Trade Mandate

Corporate Europe Forum