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

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.
An analysis of the revised independence policy of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). More reworded than revised, actually.
Will EFSA become more transparent, and to lobbyists or scientists? After its public consultation on its draft transparency policy, the Authority must now choose.
This must-watch film is now online. The film shows how corporations and actors within the Commission are teaming up to demolish a major piece of public health legislation.
A new draft EU directive currently looked at by the European Parliament wants to protect companies' "trade secrets", but uses definitions so large and exceptions so weak that it could seriously endanger the work of journalists, whistle-blowers, unionists and researchers as well as severely limiting corporate accountability. We publish a joint statement together with several other groups for the directive to be radically amended.
In the face of a disastrous Lima Outcome for local communities, their environments and the climate, many of the climate justice groups attending COP20 released a joint statement in response to what countries had agreed to, as well setting our own agenda.
The UN climate talks in Lima, COP20, have had the pervasive influence of business all over them. Yet despite this, business is still not happy with the influence it has on the talks and wants a greater role.
As the UN climate talks – COP20 – wrap up in Lima, CEO took part in a press conference to reflect on what two weeks of negotiations mean for climate justice and the road to Paris. Organised by the Institute of Climate Action and Theory, CEO was joined by with Michael Dorsey (board member of Sierra Club) and Jagoda Munic (Chair of Friends of the Earth International).

Alternative Trade Mandate

Corporate Europe Forum