Principles for transparency, excellence and independence in scientific advice to the European Commission

In August 2014 a coalition of NGOs including the Alliance wrote a letter to the President-elect of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, questioning the role of Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the EU Commission. The intention of the letter was to stimulate debate about how scientific policy advice was structured and to highlight the risks in concentrating the power of delivering this advice into the hands of one person via the role of CSA. Vested interests realised long ago this role makes it easier to control. The UK is one of the few remaining EU countries which maintains a CSA post.

The EU CSA post was abolished in November amind allegations from various sources in the UK and beyond of this being ‘anti-science’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The NGO coalition drafted another letter outlining a set of common principles for excellence, independence and transparence. These we believe can improve and inform existing scientific advisory institutions and processes, as well as the new scientific advisory structure the EU.

The principles outline the importance the NGOs place on unbiased, well balanced and current science advice given as a vital tool to aid and inform EU policy. But sometimes science on its own may not be able to fully determine the right course of action. Other societal factors must be considered along with a precautionary approach when there is uncertainty in relation to the health and safety of the EU citizens.

The alliance thinks that current lack of consideration given to, and therefore action taken on new and emerging science covering issues like EDCs, other chemicals, substances and work practices linked to the increasing rates of workplace and environmental cancers has contributed to the rising rates of cancer. We are very concerned that further scientific advice be given through an open and transparent process, and that the most current, unbiased and well rounded sceintifi advice must be taken when determining health and safety. After all our very health depends on it.

More information on the issue available here.