Politics / Law
New Health Commissioner answers European Parliament
Brussels/Strasbourg – John Dalli, the designated Super Commissioner for Biotechnology has set out his future priorities as Health Commissioner of the European Commission. In a document published on 23 December by the European Parliament, Dalli made clear that "any policy on issues such as cloning, nanotechnology will continue to be based on scientific facts, and will respect ethical values while striving to enhance Europe’s innovative drive and at the same time eliminate risks to our citizens. Equally in the area of GMOs, science will continue to guide our actions, and I will put into practice the President of the Commission's guidelines concerning cultivation." (see more…). According to www.agrarzeitung.de, this means that Dalli wants to give more flexibility to the EU member states concerning the cultivation of genetically modified crops. Furthermore, Dalli has stated that he would like to push for better regulation in the highly regulated internal market for animals, plants, seeds, food and feed, in order to boost the European agro-industry, and to stimulate innovation, while also respecting the health and interests of consumers and the environment. In this area the overarching principle remains 'safety first'. But this would not mean zero risk. He also appears to hope to follow an industry-friendly approach in the area of drug development. Dalli said: "I look forward to the upcoming evaluation report on the functioning of the European Medicines Agency, and in this context to evaluating whether there is scope for measures whereby we can optimise the bringing of new medicines to the market as quickly as possible, and with the minimum of expense." Dalli will answer questions from the members of the European Parliament on 14 January 2010. However, it remains open whether the Parliament will accept a Commissioner with almost all biotech competencies in his hands.