The European Commission’s decision to “scrap” the role of chief scientific adviser from its structure has been described as “deeply troubling” by NFU President, Meurig Raymond.
“This appears to be a backward step for science,” he said, in an urgent call for assurances concerning what will happen next.
“At a time when we need to address serious concerns around food security, energy security and the collective EU response to the threat of climate change; it is deeply concerning that the voice of science should be stifled.”
Having warmly welcomed the appointment of the now-discarded, Professor Anne Glover, in 2012, the NFU president said he wanted to publicly record the union’s sincere thanks for her work.
“Professor Glover has championed the importance of science and innovation to drive growth in the EU,” he said. “We now urgently seek assurances from the Commission as to how the role that she and her office played will be continued.”
Member of Parliament, Mark Spencer, chair-elect of the all-party parliamentary group on science and technology in agriculture, also voiced his concern over the decision.
“Continued access to scientific and technological innovation in agriculture will be essential to address the challenge of sustainable intensification,” he said. “And yet EU policy-makers appear intent on blocking progress in key areas such as biotechnology and crop protection.
“The decision to axe the post of chief scientist is a serious setback, and should serve as a wake-up call to Europe’s leaders to ensure EU agriculture is not consigned to a technological backwater by an anti-science policy agenda in Brussels.”