Independence rules refined, policy review set for 2015

An update of EFSA’s robust implementing rules on Declarations of Interest will enhance their understanding and application in the screening of EFSA scientific experts and staff. The document published today builds on the wide-ranging set of rules effectively introduced in 2012; the revised text is shortened, reformatted for ease of use and includes a re-wording of certain passages for greater clarity.

EFSA is committed to reviewing its policies and procedures to ensure they remain fit for purpose. This technical review of the implementing rules on Declarations of Interest is part of these ongoing efforts. The next important step in this direction will be the more strategic review of EFSA’s Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making Processes, which will begin in 2015.

The current technical review was carried out to build on EFSA’s experience from applying the rules over the past two years. The Authority also considered feedback from the European Parliament, European Ombudsman, European Court of Auditors and civil society stakeholders. To ensure openness and transparency on the review process EFSA held a dedicated meeting between senior EFSA staff and members of EFSA’s Stakeholder Consultative Platform in June 2014. Key learning from the meeting with stakeholders will feed into the more strategic reflections that will start next year.

Selected improvements of the current review:

  • A specific requirement that a “Food Safety Organisation” must receive more than 50% of its funding from public sources, to qualify.
  • A precise definition of what is meant by family members, namely spouses, registered partners and dependent descendents.
  • An annual Declaration of Interests submission is now obligatory for all staff members having been extended to grades in administrative and supporting roles (AST, FG I, FG II and FG III).

A more detailed overview of the updates is available in our Frequently Asked Questions .

The updated rules come into effect in September 2014 and will be applied in the screening of experts for the renewal of the Authority’s Scientific Committee and eight of its Scientific Panels in 2015.


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