Bijdrage mili­eu­com­missie over trans­pa­rantie en duur­zaamheid van de EU-risi­co­be­oor­deling in de voed­sel­keten

30 augustus 2018

Anja Hazekamp (PvdD): Thank you chair. According to the explanatory memorandum, the Commission proposal aims at making the EU risk assessment process more transparent. It is a big dossier. It is not easy to overlook at first sight.

But when you look closely to the content of the report, you see that if the text is maintained as such, the proposed new rules could lead to even less transparency compared to today.

I will give some examples of that.

Most of the Union acts that are to be replaced, contain lists of information that "shall not be considered confidential". And now it is proposed to replace these lists by other lists of information that may be treated confidentially if commercial interests of the companies could be deemed to be harmed.

I have a question to the Commission. If your aim is to improve transparency, why did you then delete the existing lists of information that "shall not be considered confidential"?

Do you agree that keeping those lists would add transparency?

Also, there is a new provision stating that the disclosure of scientific data and studies regarding authorisations shall be “without prejudice to” “any intellectual property right which may exist over documents or their content”.

Why did the European Commission, with Article 38, lay down a new, specific ground for refusing to disclose information to the public based on the protection of intellectual property right?

I will not say a lot about the Aarhus Convention, because it was already ,mentioned by my colleagues. But I have one additional question to the Commission.

If you aim at more transparency, why did you then include Recital 36a, putting into question the access to documents rights? Because the proposal is referring to proactive disclosure and publication of information, and in my opinion it should not in any way restrict the right to access the documents.

One last point about the draft report by Mrs Sommer. It contains a lot of positive elements, but the crucial point for me is that the whole draft report has a clear objection
to publish scientific data and studies only after the Authority has published its opinion. For me that is unacceptable and it would run counter to all transparency efforts.

It doesn’t help if independent scientists can only scrutinise an application for authorisation once the EFSA opinion is already there. I think there must be a chance for independent scrutiny, scientific scrutinty, before the opinion is taken.

Those were my main points, and I am looking forward to the response of the Commission.