73rd Management Board Meeting: Board adopts new independence policy and accounts for 2016 financial year; reviews progress in transparency
The Management Board adopted EFSA’s revised independence policy, putting in place new measures to further strengthen the Authority’s impartiality and safeguards against improper influence in its scientific risk assessment activities. The Board assessed progress on transparency and engagement in EFSA’s work. It also gave a positive view on accounts for the financial year 2016.
Revised independence policy
The Management Board approved EFSA’s new independence policy which it considers as robust and well-balanced. A number of new measures reinforce EFSA’s impartiality and protection against undue external influence.
Management Board Chair Jaana Husu-Kallio said: “The policy we agreed today is the result of months of debate and consultation. We thank our stakeholders and the public for their important suggestions which were considered with great care. The system already in place was robust and effective and we have further strengthened it.”
The revised policy includes a new definition of what constitutes a conflict of interest which brings EFSA in line with the European Commission; the introduction of a comprehensive set of “cooling-off” rules; more transparency regarding financial or economic interest; and a harmonised approach for Member State experts taking part in peer review meetings. The Management Board will be involved in the implementation and monitoring of the policy and an evaluation will be carried out no later than five years after its entry into force.
For more information please see the dedicated news story.
TERA project implementation progresses
EFSA updated the Management Board on progress in implementing its Transparency and Engagement in Risk Assessment (TERA) project. In June 2016, EFSA had shared a plan detailing the various measures.
Over the last twelve months, the implementation of the plan has progressed well - with about two third of the measures now in place. They have contributed to increasing the transparency of EFSA’s risk assessment work and the engagement of stakeholders in its scientific processes. Progress was made in the following areas:
- Open plenaries of EFSA’s scientific panels are now web-streamed allowing a wider audience to follow proceedings in real time. Plenary minutes are more informative and publication times are reduced.
- Applicants receive better assistance in understanding the type of information to submit through high-level pre-submission scientific meetings, as well as updated and more user-friendly guidance documents.
- Evidence, data and methods used in EFSA’s risk assessments are increasingly available and accessible through tools such as the Data Warehouse and the Knowledge Junction.
The deployment of the remaining transparency measures is planned to be completed by 2020.
2016 financial accounts
The Board gave a positive opinion on EFSA’s 2016 financial accounts, having obtained reasonable assurances that they represent a true and fair view of the Authority’s financial position as of the end of last year. The Board’s opinion will now be sent together with the final accounts to the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors, the European Parliament and the Council, as required under EFSA’s Financial Regulation.
For media enquiries please contact:
EFSA Media Relations Office
Tel.: +39 0521 036 149
E-mail: Press [at] efsa.europa.eu
Audiocast and documents
- Welcome by the Chair
- Adoption of the agenda
- Board members’ ADoIs and ODoIs
- EFSA performance report
- Update from the Scientific Committee
- Update on the TERA project
- EFSA independence policy review
- Accounts 2016 financial year
- Implementing Rules of Staff Regulations
- Amendments to Art. 36 list
- EFSA Pre-Accession Programme
- Amendments to the EFSA budget 2017
- Feedback from the Audit Committee