NFU says “confusion reigns” over EU chief scientific adviser role

The European Commission (EC) has “back-tracked” on its reported agreement to reinstate the role of chief scientific adviser, according to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

“British Conservative MEPs last week claimed a short-lived victory in the fight to have the role of chief scientific adviser to the EC president of the European Commission reinstated,” said the NFU in its latest Brussels in brief report. 

“The post, held by Scottish Professor Anne Glover, was abolished by Commission president, Jean Claude Juncker, last November after environmental groups voiced concerns over Professor Glover’s impartiality. But in Strasbourg last week, the Commission vice president Frans Timmermans appeared to confirm the post would be reinstated.

“Addressing the European Conservative and Reformist group meeting, Mr Timmermans was questioned by Vicky Ford MEP (Eastern, Conservative) on the need for the role to be brought back. According to minutes published by the ECR, Mr Timmermans is alleged to have said: ‘We will have a chief scientific adviser’.”

The NFU now believes, however, that the EC’s position actually remains unchanged.

“Conservative MEP Dan Dalton (West Midlands) and Ian Duncan (Scotland) swiftly took to twitter to welcome the (reinstatement) decision,” said the NFU, before stating that a “Commission back-track soon followed”.

“A Commission spokesperson,” said the union, “quickly denied the decision had been made, adding that nothing had changed since the decision in November last year.”

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