FAQ on the resignation of Diana Banati as member and Chair of EFSA´s Management Board
1. How has Diána Bánáti been involved in EFSA’s work?
2. Where is Diána Bánáti going? When was EFSA made aware of this decision?
3. Is it true that in 2010 the Chair of EFSA’s Management Board was a member of the industry-funded scientific think-tank, ILSI Europe?
4. Has Diána Bánáti been working with ILSI Europe since then?
5. Some critics have called this a “revolving door” move, is no cooling off period required?
6. What are EFSA’s relations with ILSI?
7. What does EFSA think about the move of Diána Bánáti to ILSI?
8. Who will be the new Chair of EFSA’s Management Board?
Diána Bánáti was appointed member of the EFSA Management Board in June 2006 for a four-year term and re-appointed for a second term in 2010 with a 4-year mandate. She was elected Chair of the Management Board in October 2010.
Members of the EFSA Management Board are appointed by Council after consulting the European Parliament on the basis of a short-list drawn up by the European Commission following an open call for expression of interest.
The role of EFSA’s Board members is to ensure that the Authority functions effectively and efficiently. While they are required to ensure that the official process is followed in the selection of Panel members, Board members have no power to review EFSA’s scientific outputs or to influence their adoption procedure, which is the sole responsibility of EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels.
EFSA was informed on 8 May 2012 by Diána Bánáti of her decision to take up a professional position at the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). This position is not compatible with her role as member and Chair of the EFSA Management Board. Upon request of EFSA, Diána Bánáti has resigned from the EFSA Management Board and the Authority made this decision known as soon as possible on 9 May 2012.
In October 2010, the former Chair of the Management Board, Diána Bánáti, resigned from her position as Member of the Board of Directors of ILSI Europe. The EFSA Management Board decided at the time that in order to avoid any misperception of its role, the chair should refrain from having a management or other influential role in organisations representing interests in the food chain, other than public interests.
EFSA’s rules on Annual Declarations of Interest stipulate that the responsibility for updating a declaration lies with the holder. During the period October 2010 – May 2012, Diána Bánáti did not indicate any involvement with ILSI Europe.
In her capacity as Chair of EFSA’s Management Board, Diána Bánáti was not an EFSA employee. She is currently employed as Ministerial Commissioner for food safety and international scientific research cooperations and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Hungarian Ministry of Rural Development.
Management Board members are not subject to the EU staff regulations, hence Article 16 which outlines measures to be taken by EU civil servants and the respective Appointing Authority when staff take up new positions, including cooling off periods, does not apply. However, the Code of Conduct adopted by the EFSA Management Board obliges all members to consider possible public perception, in all facets of personal and professional life, in particular with regard to any activities which could raise doubts about their independence, even with respect to potential conflicts of interest. The Code of Conduct stipulates that, given the public character of their function, members shall conduct themselves in a way that maintains and promotes the public’s trust in the Authority.
ILSI Europe is a member of EFSA’s Stakeholder Consultative Platform. ILSI has no influence on EFSA’s scientific decision-making processes but like other stakeholders can contribute through the public consultation processes offered by the Authority.
ILSI has made known its disapproval of the increased rigour of EFSA’s new implementing rules for its independence policy. EFSA’s new rules explicitly exclude the involvement of scientific experts participating in scientific work related to services provided to products, their development and/or assessment methods carried out on behalf of trade associations or other bodies with an interest in this subject matter.
The position which Diána Bánáti will be taking up at ILSI is not compatible with her role as member and Chair of the EFSA Management Board. Furthermore, the Code of Conduct adopted by the EFSA Management Board obliges all members to consider possible public perception, in all facets of personal and professional life, in particular with regard to any activities which could raise doubts about their independence, even with respect to potential conflicts of interest. The Code of Conduct stipulates that, given the public character of their function, members shall conduct themselves in a way that maintains and promotes the public’s trust in the Authority.
As foreseen in Article 2 of EFSA’s “Management Board Rules of Procedure”, if the office of Chair falls vacant, the Board will decide which of the Vice-Chairs shall replace him or her until later elections.