Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2017

European Commission - Press release (IP/17/264), 14 February 2017

ADMINISTRATION - Comitology: Commission proposes more transparency and accountability in procedures for implementing EU law

The Commission proposed today to amend the Comitology Regulation, increasing transparency and accountability in the procedures for implementation of EU legislation.

The Commission is delivering on President Juncker's pledge in his State of the Union Speech in September 2016 when he stated, "It is not right that when EU countries cannot decide among themselves whether or not to ban the use of glyphosate in herbicides, the Commission is forced by Parliament and Council to take a decision. So we will change those rules."

The package of four targeted amendments will enhance transparency about the positions taken by Member States, allow for greater political guidance, and ensure more accountability in the decision-making process. The four measures proposed are:

The comitology system works well for the large majority of decisions. However, in a number of high profile and sensitive cases in recent years Member States have been unable to find the necessary majorities to either vote in favour or against certain draft acts, a so-called 'no opinion' scenario. In these cases, the responsibility to take a final decision falls upon the Commission, obliging a decision to be taken without clear political backing from Member States. In 2015 and 2016, the Commission was legally obliged to adopt 17 acts which concerned the authorisation of sensitive products and substances such as glyphosate or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), despite Member States being unable to take position either in favour or against the decisions.

This proposal was announced as one of the key new initiatives in the 2017 Commission Work Programme. It will now be transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council.

For more details, see also:

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