On October 17, 2013 the non-governmental public advocacy group Corporate Europe Observatory published an open letter to the European Commission’s (EC) Chief Scientific Advisor Anne Glover requesting her to pursue true transparency in European policy making. The open letter is a response to another open letter by 12 chief executive officers (CEOs) covered in an article published on October 17, 2013 in the Financial Times. In the letter, the CEOs ask the EC to ponder the impact on innovation whenever it considers the application of the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle is an integral part of European Union legislation, layed down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 191. Authorities may find recourse in the precautionary principle whenever a phenomenon, product or process may be hazardous to consumers but the risk cannot yet be determined with sufficient certainty. The CEOs suggest providing Anne Glover with the formal power to “review the use of scientific evidence in risk management legislation”. In response, Glover appeals to the public to trust industry not only on their products, but also when it comes to policy making. She argues that the current mistrust is hampering the ability to innovate and that instead we need transparency on all sides. In the Corporate Europe Observatory letter, Martin Pigeon contests this assertion. He is of the opinion that real transparency in policy making is not possible as industry will continue its secretive practices when it comes to the risk assessment of its products. Pigeon points to industry’s unwillingness to disclose raw data of toxicological studies. He proposes that Glover may ask industry to disclose the information, if she believes that real transparency is possible.
Martin Pigeon (October 17, 2013). “Looking for real transparency – an open letter to the European Commission’s Chief Scientist.” Corporate Europe Observatory.
Clive Cookson (October 17, 2013). “Government in danger of stifling bright ideas.” Financial Times.