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The official EU assessment of glyphosate was based on unpublished studies owned by industry.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.

The International Civil Aviation Organization is expected to agree a new climate deal at its current assembly meeting. But its promise of “carbon neutral” flying through voluntary carbon offsetting is delusive, posing new threats to the environment and communities.

Ahead of the Commission's proposal for a new ‘mandatory’ lobby transparency register, CEO takes a look at the summary of the public consultation on the subject: civil society's call for better transparency systems faces the spin of corporate lobby groups and trade associations, which appear to promote transparency values but recommend limited implementation, loopholes and toothless management.

CEO's reaction to the the Bahamas leaks, which revealed ex-EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes' offshore links.

The European Commission's upcoming regulation proposal for acrylamide, a dangerous contaminant formed in many starchy foods when cooked at high temperatures, relies on codes of best practices developed by food industry lobby groups.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour