MEPs seek EFSA penalty on conflict of interest
Members of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee are calling for a block on the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) accounts unless it publishes information on previous jobs held by its staff and contracted experts. The Committee has the role of granting “discharges” (approvals) of EU agency reports on how they spent their annual budgets. In March, it voted to postpone the discharge of the EFSA’s 2010 budget due to concerns over conflict of interests and “excessive” costs of its management board meetings. The decision goes forward for a full parliamentary vote in May. Without a discharge, the EFSA is unable to sign off its accounts and could eventually be unable to operate. It co-ordinates safety assessments in the EU approval process for agrochemicals and genetically modified crops.