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Parliamentary questions
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23 October 2019
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
James Wells
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: The influence of foreign scientists on EU agricultural policies

European media have reported concerns about the growing influence of foreign scientists, in particular scientists from the Russian Federation, on EU agricultural policy regarding the regulation of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For instance, media publications have stated that Russian scientists Alexander Panchin and Mikhail Gelfand may be engaged in a lobbying campaign to change EU legislation concerning genetically modified foods and new plant breeding techniques (1).

Panchin and Gelfand regularly publish articles in European scientific journals, in which they write about the use of GMO products and harshly criticise opponents of GMOs. Gelfand is a public official and deputy director for scientific issues at the Russian State’s Institute for Information Transmission Problems. Panchin also works at the same institute.

At the same time, Gelfand is the scientific editor for the European journals PeerJ, Biology Direct and the Journal of Computational Biology. He is also on the editorial boards of a number of European scientific journals.

Does the Commission consider it absolutely unacceptable that foreign scientific specialists should engage in lobbying to seek to influence GMO regulation in the EU? If not, why not?

Can it confirm that Russian public official scientists do not influence EU legislative regulation through their presence on the editorial boards of scientific journals? If not, why not?

(1) https://london-post.co.uk/lethal-weapon-whose-footprints-appeared-in-lobbying-for-gmos-in-europe/ and https://www.theamericanreporter.com/how-gmo-corporations-engage-scientists-for-lobbying-in-europe
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