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Policy

EU Groups Wrangle Over Science Post

by Cheryl Hogue
August 25, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 34

Scientific organizations and environmental groups are at loggerheads over whether the president of the European Commission should have a chief science adviser. The post was created in 2012. But new leadership will take over the EC, the administrative branch of the European Union, at the end of the year. Groups including Greenpeace and Pesticide Action Network Europe want EC President-Elect Jean-Claude Juncker to abolish the chief science adviser job. “Vested interests have long realized that the more you concentrate scientific advice into the hands of one person, the easier it is to control,” they say in an Aug. 19 letter. The commission has other sources of scientific advice, they point out. But scientific organizations including the European Academies Science Advisory Council and the Royal Society of Chemistry argue that maintaining the position will ensure that Juncker gets independent, high-level scientific advice. They say the environmental groups disagreed with current science adviser Anne Glover’s advice that genetically modified crops are no more risky than conventional plants.

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