In these harsh economic times, there are just some things that no longer seem essential, if indeed they ever were essential.
The President of the European Commission, the portuguese Maoist, José Manuel Barroso announced plans in March to recruit a top scientist to offer advice on controversial issues including climate change and genetically-modified food, a role that so far is thankfully still waiting to be filled.
The role would not be an independent one, and like the UK Labour Party, Barroso would be following the credo of policy driven science rather than scientific driven policy. The incumbent, if and when they are chosen and appointed, will be given an office in the Commission’s Berlaymont building and will slot into the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA), reporting directly to Barroso.
In addition to the plush offices, the new EU Chief Scientific Advisor will collect a salary of €200,000+, the same rate and perks as a director-general.
Numerous scientific committees are already providing the European Commission with advice on policy decisions or proposals related mainly to consumer safety, public health and the environment.
Specific EU agencies, such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), have been set up to handle particular technical and scientific tasks.
Further advice for EU policymaking is provided by the Commission’s in-house research facilities, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Bureau of Economic Policy Advisers (BEPA) and the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE).
The European Research Area Board (ERAB), a high-level, independent advisory committee created by the Commission, provides advice on the design and implementation of EU research policy.
The EU executive also receives ‘advice’ from a number of ‘comitology’ committees regarding the implementation of EU legislation in national administrations.
So bearing in mind that Barroso has a plethora of scientific advice to call upon already, is this post necessary at all? The unelected Barroso isn’t paying for it, is he… you are.
Its time for Member States and National Parliaments to stand up to Barroso, the man who sees himself as the Leader of Europe, almost dictatorial, a claim he made in his speech to the European Parliament in September last year.
Now, more than ever, we need a strong Europe led by a strong European Commission.
A strong Commission has to be a political Commission. But a political Commission must not be a partisan Commission. As President of the Commission, my party is Europe.
If you want a strong Commission that stands up to MS (Member States) you should give this Commission the strong support it needs.
No Barroso, THE SPENDING HAS TO STOP! The democratic deficit has to be addressed, and the people must have their say on the future of the EU. Not committees, not appointees, not even you Barroso, but the people.