60th Management Board meeting: EFSA Management Board nominates Bernhard Url as Executive Director, appoints new ANS, CEF Panel members

Posted: 24 March 2014 | The European Food Safety Authority | No comments yet

The European Food Safety Authority’s Management Board has nominated Dr Bernhard Url as EFSA’s next Executive Director…

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The European Food Safety Authority’s Management Board has nominated Dr Bernhard Url as EFSA’s next Executive Director. As part of the appointment procedure, Dr Url is scheduled to make a statement before members of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee on 14 April, 2014 and answer any questions they may have.

The Board also appointed 40 independent scientific experts to the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS Panel) and the Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel), for a three year term. In addition, the Board adopted EFSA’s Draft Preliminary Annual Management Plan, Budget and Establishment Plan for 2015.

Dr Url, who is currently EFSA’s acting Executive Director, was one of the candidates shortlisted by the European Commission after an open competition and who were interviewed by the Board. The European Parliament will subsequently submit an opinion on the appointment to the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, and to the chair of EFSA’s Management Board, Sue Davies. The opinion is taken into consideration before the Board makes its final decision on the appointment. The recruitment was initiated following the departure in September 2013 of Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, who was EFSA Executive Director for seven years.

“I am very pleased to inform you that the Board voted to nominate Bernhard Url as the Executive Director,” Sue Davies said in a message to EFSA staff.” I would like to congratulate Bernhard on behalf of the Management Board.”

The scientists appointed in the renewal of the ANS and CEF Panels were among 194 experts who applied to an open call and who were eligible to apply to become members. The final selection of the candidates proposed for nomination was made based on an evaluation by EFSA, on the expertise required for membership of either Panel, on nationality and gender and on the advice from members of EFSA’s Advisory Forum.

The selection procedure was subject to scrutiny by three independent external evaluators chosen for their internationally recognised scientific expertise, in-depth knowledge of EFSA and absence of involvement in EFSA activities. They concluded that EFSA’s evaluations were carried out in an objective and consistent manner. EFSA also screened the Annual Declaration of Interests (ADoI) of each suitable candidate before the final selection was made.

The term of the current ANS and CEF Panels expires in July 2014. The list of the selected experts for the renewed Panels will be published shortly before the first inaugural plenaries.

The Preliminary Annual Management Plan for 2015 is guided by EFSA’s Multiannual Plan 2014-16, which was adopted by the Board in December 2013 as part of a new planning cycle outlined in EFSA’s Single Programming Document.

The Plan states that, based on consultations with the European Commission, Members States and stakeholders, incoming work will remain steady until 2016 with an average 500 mandates per year. An increase in complexity means EFSA’s workload will continue to be high and there will be continued demand for scientific advice in areas such as environmental risk assessment, post-market monitoring, risk/benefit and efficacy assessments. EFSA must also remain positioned to respond rapidly to urgent food safety-related incidents. In parallel, societal demands for more openness and transparency will increase. EFSA’s budget will remain relatively stable over the period 2014-17 while its establishment plan will be reduced by 2% (7 posts a year) over the same period in line with the EU Multiannual Financial Framework.

EFSA has identified three strategic objectives for 2014-16: to ensure its scientific advice is fit for purpose; to ensure the sustainability of the organisation; and increase trust in EFSA’s work. A series of initiatives is planned to achieve these objectives, including enhancing cooperation with Member States aimed at developing a common EU risk assessment agenda and setting up a data hub for Europe’s food safety risk assessment needs; improving communication and outreach activities, enhance transparency and openness and promote the independence of the organisation.

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