Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Conflicts of interest EFSA board letter

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) last week highlighted in a report that at least four members of EFSA’s management board are employed by or otherwise linked with food industry lobby groups and other commercial interests, a situation that creates potential conflicts of interest. These board members are: Matthias Horst (director general of the German food industry lobby BVE), Milan Kováč (director of International Life Sciences Institute Europe), Jiří Ruprich (Danone Institute) and Piet Vanthemsche (farmers’ lobby COPA and Agri Investment Fund).

EFSA’s press officer responded by arguing that according to EFSA’s Founding Regulation, four of the 15 Management Board members “shall have their background in organisations representing consumers and other interests in the food chain”. She said that these four members are currently Matthias Horst (industry), Piet Vanthemsche (farmers), Sue Davies (consumers) and Sinikka Turunen (consumers).

CEO does not find such a justification acceptable and reacts with an open letter.

 

The official EU assessment of glyphosate was based on unpublished studies owned by industry. Seven months later, the pesticide industry still fights disclosure and, so far, successfully. We obtained a copy of their arguments.

The European Commission proposal on scientific criteria defining endocrine disruptors (EDCs) is the latest dangerous outgrowth of a highly toxic debate. The chemical lobby, supported by certain Commission factions (notably DG SANTE and the Secretary-General) and some member states (UK and Germany), has put significant obstacles in the way of effective public health and environment regulation.

This May is dense on the EU chemicals regulation front. Crunch time for two major files: the European Commission needs to publish the identification criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals, and together with EU States must decide how, or not, renew the market approval of glyphosate, an herbicide produced and defended by Monsanto. Last week, the Professor Alan Boobis happened to be involved in both.

Demonstrating the problematic symbiosis between corporate interests and EU institutions, the same lobbying consultancies often get hired by both.

A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae). 

When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio.

José Manuel Barroso's move to Goldman Sachs has catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem onto the political agenda. It is symbolic of the excessive corporate influence at the highest levels of the EU.

Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth and LobbyControl today wrote to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, calling on him to investigate Angelika Nieber MEP over a possible conflict of interest.

CEO presents some first reflections on the UK's vote for Brexit.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour