GMWatch welcomes news that there will be no new CSA in the new Commission

GMWatch welcomes the news that there will be no position of chief scientific adviser in the new European Commission.

The move follows a series of open letters and articles in which NGOs (including GMWatch) criticised the post for its lack of transparency and accountability.

The groups said it gave too much power to one person by enabling them to bypass and pre-empt the scientific decision-making processes already in place in the Commission. They were also concerned that the post was vulnerable to corporate lobbying and co-option.

The NGOs asked the new head of the EU Commission to abolish the post – and now that's happened.

The current CSA, Anne Glover, used her position to promote GMOs and attracted controversy over her role in the Commission's delay in regulating endocrine disrupting chemicals.

In an email sent to various critics of the post, among others, Glover wrote:

"The European Commission confirmed to me yesterday that, all decisions on the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) were repealed and so the function of Chief Scientific Adviser has ceased to exist. The new European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC) which 'replaces' BEPA does not comprise a function 'Chief Scientific Adviser'... I am going to leave the Commission at the end of January."

At first glance the EPSC looks to have a promising diversity of expertise. We'll need to keep a close eye on how it pans out.

Given that the idea of the post of CSA was hatched in the UK (pro-GM lobby group Sense About Science claimed credit for initiating the discussions), it's not surprising that the UK Science Media Centre has gathered a collection of quotes opposing the abolition of the role.