EU Commission must step up and appoint chief scientist, say NFU

The NFU has said the European Commission needs to step up its hunt to find a chief scientist to assist in critical decisions surrounding issues such as food security and climate change.

The union has criticised the European Commission for failing to appoint a chief scientist despite president Jose Manuel Barrosso’s pledge to create the post more than 18 months ago.

Assistant director in the NFU’s Brussels office Katy Lee said:  "We welcomed the intention to create a chief scientific advisor back in 2009 but we are disappointed the post has still not been filled.

"We are faced with huge global challenges to feed a growing world population sustainably and it is clear that the solutions from the EU must be underpinned by sound science and not destroyed by intransigent politics."

The UK and Ireland are the only EU member states to employ a chief scientific advisor, and the UK’s Professor Sir John Beddington used a recent trip to Brussels to press the European Commission to appoint an advisor.

Lee added:  "Professor Beddington has been an instrumental voice in putting food security back on the political agenda and advising smart solutions based on science.

"Research and development will be essential in our bid to tackle food security issues going forward and it is vital the European Commission receives the best scientific advice."

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