Saturday

16th Feb 2019

One Barroso-era advisor left on new EU science body

  • CERN director Rolf-Dieter Heuer (l) with science commissioner Moedas, in April (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission has decided that only one member of a discontinued informal scientific advisory body will be part of its new 'high level group' of science advisers, it announced on Tuesday (10 November).

The announcement of the seven members of the team, heading the so-called Scientific Advice Mechanism, comes just over a year after Jean-Claude Juncker took over the presidency of the Commission from Jose Manuel Barroso.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Juncker decided to end the post of a single Chief Scientific Adviser, set-up under Barroso, and asked his science commissioner Carlos Moedas to find out how independent scientific advice could best be institutionalised.

European governments have varying traditions when it comes to scientific advice at top level, with the Anglo-Saxon tradition favouring a single person with direct access to the government leader, and other nations relying more on academic bodies.

Last May, Moedas announced the Commission would set up a team of advisers, rather than appoint a single one.

The decision was a departure from the previous administration, which had set up a Chief Scientific Adviser in 2012. Following the handover from Barroso to Juncker, Scottish biologist Anne Glover, the first and only one to have filled the post, said it was unclear who would succeed her.

For several months after Juncker took office, an informal advisory body to Glover, the Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC), was also left in the dark.

“We learned from the papers we didn't exist any longer,” STAC member Victor de Lorenzo told EUobserver in February.

His fellow STAC member, Alan Atkisson, at the time expressed disappointment the body could not continue. “We were just hitting our stride”, he said.

One year after the STAC de facto stopped providing advice, the Commission has announced the seven names of its new scientific body. French mathematician Cedric Villani is the only one who had also been a member of the STAC.

The team also includes professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, who until the end of this year is director-general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), most well-known for its Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

The other members are Polish biologist Janusz M. Bujnicki; Dutch sociologist Pearl Dykstra; Portuguese physics and materials expert Elvira Fortunato; British meteorologist and climate scientist Julia Slingo; and Danish microbiologist and food safety expert Henrik Wegener.

"The seven exceptional scientists I have appointed to the group will take the use of independent science advice in Commission policy making to a new level," Moedas said in a prepared statement.

"The European Commission will rely on their independent advice on a range of complex policy issues where high-level scientific input is needed."

The group will have its first meeting in January 2016.

EU science chief wants more from Juncker fund

The €315 billion Juncker fund must support more science projects, says EU commissioner Carlos Moedas, who urged the EU to "do much better" in research and innovation.

Investigation

How the EU cosied up to the defence lobby

The EU has allowed its defence and security policies to be shaped by powerful lobbyists, many of whom are linked to firms that win lucrative contracts, an investigation shows.

EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency

A resolution demanding Saudi Arabia release prisoners and stop gender-based violence was passed by over 500 MEPs on Thursday in Strasbourg. They also demanded greater transparency over Brussels-based lobbying for the Saudis, following an EUobserver exclusive.

Saudis paying College of Europe to lobby MEPs

The Bruges-based College of Europe is setting up private meetings with the EU institutions for seven ambassadors plus seven high-level officials from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us