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Transparency Regulation and stakeholder engagement

EFSA has interacted with stakeholders during the main implementation phase of Regulation (EU) 1381/2019, the ‘Transparency Regulation’, until entry into application in accordance with an engagement framework jointly agreed and aligned between EFSA and DG SANTE. This interaction has been separate and in addition to the Stakeholder Engagement Approach (SEA), which continued to be carried out in line with the Management Board Decision on the criteria for establishing a list of stakeholders and the establishment of the Stakeholder Forum and Stakeholder Bureau.

Following the conclusion of the main implementation phase leading up to the entry into application of the Transparency Regulation, EFSA will continue its stakeholder engagement on the Transparency Regulation through the fora foreseen by the Stakeholder Engagement Approach (SEA).

During the main implementation phase leading up to the entry into application of the Transparency Regulation, EFSA followed the following engagement framework.

Applicable principles/framework during the main implementation phase

  • Independence: No undue influence has  been allowed at any time during the implementation. DG SANTE and EFSA have  informed stakeholders about the implementation of the Transparency Regulation in dedicated fora. No details regarding the implementation have been discussed with stakeholders, nor has any material been produced jointly with stakeholders. No substantive reply has been provided to individual stakeholder input outside the dedicated fora.
  • Transparency: Full transparency will be ensured throughout the process. DG SANTE and EFSA will address stakeholders’ questions, positions, comments or feedback in the relevant fora in full transparency. A calendar of planned events will be communicated to stakeholders.
  • Openness: DG SANTE and EFSA have provided timely and clear information on the implementation to all stakeholders.
  • Inclusiveness: The dedicated fora in which the implementation has  been discussed has  been inclusive and stakeholders have been treated equally in the discussions. In meetings of a general nature all stakeholder categories have  been invited. In technical meetings where expertise of one or more specific stakeholders’ categories was  needed, other categories  have also been invited as observers.
  • Flexibility: Physical and/or on-line meetings will be complemented by dedicated public consultations where needed.
  • Non-duplication: There has  been, as far as possible, no duplication between the existing stakeholder engagement fora and the fora dedicated to implementation of the Transparency Regulation.

Main engagement fora during the main implementation phase

EFSA has  engaged with stakeholders on the implementation through two main channels - the Sounding Board and technical groups.

  • Sounding Board: The objective of the Sounding Board was to keep stakeholders informed about the state of play of implementation in general, to collect comments stakeholders may have and to address questions where possible. It was composed of the Stakeholder Bureau members and up to one additional member per stakeholder category, Advisory Forum representatives and the European Commission.
  • Technical groups: The objective of technical groups is to inform stakeholders about the implementation process and to gather input on a specific technical area. The technical groups are  composed of relevant stakeholders representatives of EU agencies, Member States, the European Commission and observers.

Meetings with and written input from stakeholders received during the main implementation phase

Written input from stakeholders:

  • Documents received from stakeholders have  been published with the title of the document and the name of the stakeholder organisation clearly identified. Documents have  been published on the website of the receiver (EFSA or DG SANTE). The related EFSA and DG SANTE webpages are  linked to allow stakeholders to have a clear overview of all documents received by both entities. Publication of documents has taken place only with the consent of the relevant stakeholder organisation sending the document. If the sender did not give their consent, the webpage  indicated the title of the document, the name of the stakeholder organisation, and a reference that the relevant sender did not give their consent for the publication on the website.

Meetings with stakeholders:

  • To ensure full transparency and equal treatment of all stakeholders, content and questions on substance have  been addressed in the dedicated fora in the presence of all stakeholder categories (e.g. Sounding Board set up by EFSA), and not bilaterally with EFSA and/or DG SANTE. Full transparency has been ensured (e.g. through publication of agendas, reports or notes from the meeting and participant lists). More technical questions (such as those concerning standard data formats) have  been addressed in specific technical groups with the relevant stakeholder categories, as appropriate (e.g. EFSA technical user groups).

Sounding Board and Technical Groups

The Sounding Board will conclude its activities following the conclusion of the main implementation phase leading up to the entry into application of the Transparency Regulation on 27th March 2021 and a Sounding Board Concluding Report and infographic about EFSA’s engagement activities that took place in the context of the TR implementation are published below together with the Sounding Board meeting documents. The Technical Groups on IUCLID for pesticides and Notification of Studies Database will conclude their work in line with their Terms of Reference.

Transparency Regulation Implementation Training Programme

On 19 November 2020, EFSA held the public Webinar “Implementing the Transparency Regulation. Requirements, tools and services” with the purpose of introducing the main aspects of the Transparency Regulation and outlining the new requirements as well as the new services available for business operators as of March 2021. More information and meeting’s recording are available on EFSA’s website.

To help stakeholders better understand and prepare for the new arrangements, EFSA will be producing a range of supporting materials such as animated tutorials and holding a series of training sessions which have been taking place as from January 2021. More information as well as the calendar of training activities is available on the dedicated webpage.

Practical Arrangements

As part of the implementation process, EFSA has published detailed arrangements for how the new rules and measures specified in the Transparency Regulation operate in practice.

The “Practical Arrangements” (PAs) EFSA published on 11 January 2021 cover areas such as proactive transparency, confidentiality, notification of studies, pre- submission advice and consultation of third parties.

The PAs on the processing of applications for access to documents held by EFSA were published in 2020 following the adoption of this document by EFSA’s Management Board by March 27 2020, in line with the timeline laid down by the Transparency Regulation.

The “Questions and Answers on EFSA Practical Arrangements” published on 30 March 2021 provides answers to questions frequently asked (FAQs) on the PAs. Questions on the interpretation of the provisions of the Transparency Regulation are out of the scope of this document, which exclusively focuses on the EFSA PAs.

Updated Guidance documents on Regulated Products

EFSA has updated its scientific and administrative guidance documents to reflect the new provisions introduced by the Transparency Regulation in the pre-submission phase and application procedure.

Updated scientific and administrative guidance documents can be accessed from the Applications section under the Regulations and guidance pages of each regulated product area as soon as they become available.

Risk communication

The European Commission asked EFSA to provide technical assistance in the field of risk communication to inform the ‘General Plan on Risk Communication’ [Mandate: M-2020-0059]. The General Plan is intended to enhance the coordination and consistency of risk communication on food safety. The Commission is required to implement the General Plan under Article 8c of the Transparency Regulation, in consultation with EFSA and Member States. EFSA’s Working Group on Social Research Methods and Advice drafted a scientific report following a review of scientific literature. A public consultation on the draft of the scientific report took place from 19 November 2020 until 24 January 2021 (more info here). The Working Group analysed the feedback and finalised the report for publication in the EFSA Journal in April 2020.

EFSA produced three additional reports to support the Commission, for publication together with the scientific report. The three reports comprise:

  • Mapping the coordination and cooperation mechanisms of risk communication on feed/food safety in the EU
  • Catalogue of Communication Tools and Dissemination Guidelines – Benchmarking current practice in EU and Members State bodies 
  • Engagement Toolkit – Methods, tips and best practices to design effective participatory processes.

Celebratory event for the entry into application of the Transparency Regulation

In order to mark the entry into application of the Transparency Regulation, the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency, in collaboration with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), organised a celebratory event on 30 March 2021.

The video recording of the event and opening remarks are available on the DG SANTE website.

Calendar of meetings

Meetings may be subject to change.

  • Training programme - as from January 2021
  • IUCLID for Pesticides Technical Group meeting - May 2021
  • Notification of Studies Database meeting - June 2021

Stakeholder questions, comments and position papers

The following written communication has been received:

Contact

For questions or queries, please contact us at: TransparencyRegulationImplementation [at] efsa.europa.eu .