Conservative MEP, Anthea McIntyre, has today expressed her dismay at the European Commission’s decision not to renew the Chief Scientific Advisor role.

The current EU Chief Scientific Adviser, Anne Glover, has been in her role since 2012. The role was created by the previous President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. 

The role has been under scrutiny since green groups published a letter in the summer to the incoming President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, urging him to scrap the role. 

Miss McIntyre, an active Member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, and Draftsman for a recent EU report on Horticulture, said:

“This is a sad turn of events for UK farming and for science in EU policymaking. I am especially dismayed as Mr. Junker gave a personal assurance to the ECR Group that he would retain the role of the Chief Scientific Advisor.

“We face a global food security challenge and it is important that we take practical long term measures to meet the demands for food. Science holds the key to resolving our challenges and we must be led by evidence-based policy making rather than being swayed by those who wish to misinform. 

“The Commission’s decision to scrap the post of Scientific Chief Advisor now brings into doubt the role that scientific evidence will play in EU policymaking in the future. 

I was looking not only for the role to be maintained but to be strengthened, so that we can embed a scientific-based approach in all aspects of European policymaking. 

“The lack of science-led policymaking in the area of plant protection is already reducing yields and making life difficult for our farmers. The restrictions placed on the use of neonicotinoids are an example of this. The pesticides regulation should be science-led, and the assessment of risks undertaken on a proportionate basis. This will ensure a thriving agricultural and horticultural sector.

“The future of science in EU policymaking is now disturbingly unclear and I would urge the Commission, as a matter of urgency, to come forward with a credible plan for ensuring that scientific evidence will be taken seriously in the future. This really is a backward step.”