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Risk assessment


Freedom of choice over GMO cultivation is a step forward

The European Parliament made history on 15 January this year, when it adopted the so-called opt-out proposal for genetically modified organisms (GMO). The decision to grant national governments this freedom and legal certainty was vital in a time of such euroscepticism, writes Elisabeth Köstinger. 

Aviation safety body sets out risk-based approach to civil drone use

Three categories of civil drone should be created to regulate the unmanned aerial vehicles now used in everything from filming to farming and parcel deliveries, Europe's aviation safety body has proposed.
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Health & Consumers 04-12-2014

Investing in the future of health

In a bid to highlight the important yet highly delicate nature of Europe’s innovative industries, a new report, produced by the Deloitte Health Economics Group and commissioned by Janssen, has sought to evaluate the comparable risks incurred across five major industries.

When politics trumps science: The curious case of the EU's GMO authorisation system

Policy makers generally trust the scientific recommendations of independent EU agencies. But in the GMO area, a vicious circle of lack of approvals and decreased trust in the technology is being perpetuated, leading to a negative precedent of “politics over science”, writes Nathalie Moll.

Endocrine disruptors: Harmful or not?

Rising levels of cancers and fertility problems have attracted scientists’ attention to endocrine disrupting chemicals, with some calling for strict regulation of the substances, in line with the precautionary principle. Others meanwhile, stress the worthiness of those chemicals in everyday products such as plastics and warn that the foundations of science risk being turned upside down if precautionary measures are taken.
Health & Consumers 31-10-2013

EFSA expert: We need to think out of the box on infectious diseases

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is launching a new initiative on infectious diseases after a series of recent outbreaks in the EU, such as the Bluetongue (in Northern Europe in 2006), Schmallenberg (in 2011) and Q fever (in the Netherlands, 2007-2010), explains Franck Berthe.
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European Risk Summit 2013

The European Risk Summit, hosted in June 2013, has brought renewed focus to the issue of evidence and risk-based rulemaking, and has highlighted the critical role that science plays in policy formation at EU level.

World leaders warned on risks of climate change

SPECIAL REPORT / With time running short to agree a post-2020 international deal to tackle climate change, a new report warns that inaction puts the world at risk of greater climate volatility.

How volcanoes and airplanes offer lessons for risk taking

SPECIAL REPORT / When Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 2010, EU aviation authorities saw little choice but to shut down airspace across much of Europe as a precaution against ash and grit choking aircraft engines.  

MEP calls for parliamentary risk panel to tame green ‘scaremongering’

SPECIAL REPORT / The European Parliament needs more science and less emotion in making decisions on chemicals, pesticides and other contentious legislation, an MEP said on Tuesday (11 June), arguing that lawmakers were influenced by "scaremongering" and environmental lobbying in recent votes.  

Food safety agency seeks to repair its risk assessor reputation

SPECIAL REPORT / More than a decade after it was established, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) still struggles to persuade consumers that it is a credible risk assessor working for the public good and not unduly influenced by corporate lobbyists.

Risk expert: Policymakers often misuse precautionary principle

Evaluating risk requires a balance of quantitative assessment and regulatory review. But often in the European Union, there is a “misuse” of the precautionary principle to appease national of political interests, says Ragnar Löfstedt.
Bosnia 07-06-2013

Working towards a common goal on risk regulation

If we all agree on the same end goal when it comes to regulating risk, we need to get better at working together, writes Patrick Thomas. Science should always be the cornerstone of risk assessment, but industry needs to make more of an effort to listen to concerns of different stakeholders.
Agriculture & Food 07-06-2013

Taking the GMO risk out of Europe's food production

The EU’s post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy and EU other legislation must guarantee that organic and conventional farmers and food producers are no longer threatened by the risk of GMO contamination, argues Antje Kölling.

Top EU scientist calls for ethical standards to ease suspicion of industry

The suspicion that industrial involvement in science is only geared towards profit threatens to derail European policymaking and new ethical standards could help solve the issue, the EU’s chief scientific advisor has said.

The EU needs a better way to cope with risk

Policymakers recognise the links between innovation, growth and employment. However, novelty often bears uncertainty in Europe, where an increasingly risk-averse mind-set could threaten innovation, writes Dirk Hudig.

Food agency wants to strengthen EU risk assessment

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has called for a further strengthening of the EU's risk assessment capacity at a high-level scientific conference in Parma to mark the agency's 10th anniversary.
UK & Europe 11-02-2011

Canadian CCS supremo: We need to build global CCS industry with Europe

The EU and Canada should work together to bring controversial carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology onto the global marketplace more quickly, according to the director of Canada's flagship CAN$2 billion CCS programme.

Analyst: EU caution on new technologies causing missed opportunities

While the Union's cautious approach to granting market authorisation to new technology applications like GMOs or products derived from nanotechnology has meant that EU has not suffered from any major backlash, it could also mean the bloc is missing out on major opportunities to improve its competitiveness, argued a policy analyst from a Brussels-based think tank in an interview with EurActiv.com.

Interview: EU caution on new technologies causing 'missed opportunities'?

While the Union's cautious approach to granting market authorisation to new technology applications like GMOs or products derived from nanotechnology has meant that EU has not suffered from any major backlash, it could also mean the bloc is missing out on major opportunities to improve its competitiveness, argued a policy analyst from a Brussels-based think tank in an interview with EurActiv.com.

Former foes join forces to assess nanotech risks

Green NGO Environmental Defense and US chemicals company DuPont have developed a joint programme to ensure the responsible development of nanotechnology materials amid calls for a moratorium to be applied on the technology until more studies are completed on potential health risks.
Sustainable Dev. 12-01-2007

WEF report: world not ready for increasing global risks

Governments and corporations do not have the right mechanisms in place to deal with increasing global risks such as climate change, according to a new report prepared for the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

Report: risk communication needs stakeholder involvement

A report on the EU-25’s national risk-communications practices recommends involvement of stakeholders in the risk-management process.
Health & Consumers 07-07-2006

EFSA consults member states on how to assess risks of GM plants

In line with its recent commitment to more openness and transparency, the EFSA now consults stakeholders on the risk assessment of hybrid genetically modified (GM) plants.