Food Law News - EU - 2006

EFSA Publication, 10 February 2006

EFSA - 2006 Management Plan of the European Food Safety Authority

EFSA have published their 2006 Management Plan. The following is a copy of Part I of the Plan. The full Plan can be found on the EFSA web site at:

I. General overview of the Authority during 2006 in relation to its Annual and Multi-annual Work Programme activities

1. In 2006 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be in its 4th year of operation although still in its build up phase. 2006 will mark its first full year in Parma the Authority having transferred all its activities there by the end of October 2005. Therefore 2006 should offer the organisation and its staff stability and a firmer basis for further development than in previous years. The competences and capabilities established by the Authority since the start of its operations will continue to be built and consolidated. However it is still true to say that as a growing Authority in a changing legislative environment the Work Programmes of the Authority have to remain flexible so as to absorb both changing priorities during the year while taking into account any particular feed or food safety concerns that may arise in the course of the year.

2. During 2006 the significant development of both the Authority's scientific and communications functions since 2003 will continue into 2006 enabled by appropriate operational and administrative support.

3. During 2005, and in line with the Founding Regulation EFSA was subjected to an independent external evaluation of its achievements on the basis of the terms of reference issued by the Management Board. The evaluation was directed by a Steering Committee composed of a subset of Management Board members. The final report was delivered by the evaluators in December 2005 and placed on EFSA's website for a public consultation. Upon analysis of the conclusions of the evaluation report, and the comments received as a result of the consultation the Management Board will issue such recommendations as it may see fit. The evaluation report together with the recommendations of the Board will be communicated in the first half of 2006 pursuant to the provisions of Art.61 of the Regulation (EC) 178/2002.

4. EFSA will be able to take benefit from the outcome of the evaluation and the ensuing recommendations from the Management Board arising from it during 2006. It will indeed provide guidance and matters for reflection by all parts of the management structure of EFSA during 2006. It will in particular give EFSA the opportunity to work more precisely on its short, medium and long term goals and objectives.

5. Provisions in Community legislation which require scientific work to be carried out by EFSA continue to expand and these have to be managed within the overall programmes of the Authority. In 2006 the emphasis will be on consolidation and strengthening the Authority's reputation as an organisation dedicated to scientific excellence, independence, openness and transparency. The work of the Authority's Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels and Scientific Expert Services, their meetings and the management of their work will continue to be the major element of the Authority's work during 2006.

6. The work load of EFSA is particularly affected by a high number of legislative proposals. Therefore in planning terms the Authority has to ensure that it considers priority setting and recruitment in anticipation of the new legislation expected to come into force in 2006 (e.g. Health Claims and fortification of foods, novel foods other than GMOs, the new framework Regulation on food additives).

7. One of the challenges of 2006 will be to ensure that the recruitment of staff is undertaken at a rate and at appropriate levels of seniority to enable the Authority to develop and meet its growing work load. In particular scientific staff will need to be recruited to support the work of the Authority's Scientific Committee and 9 Scientific Panels, to manage projects, studies and tasks allocated to outside bodies and to provide an in-house source of scientific expertise in a range of scientific areas.

8. The Authority will continue to work in an open and transparent manner ensuring that its work is extensively published. In this respect it will publish its scientific findings immediately, share documents publicly, make the results of its risk assessments accessible and understandable to a broad audience; ensure that the activities of the Scientific Panels and Committee are well publicised; make certain that the papers of the Management Board and Advisory Forum are openly available and the meetings of the Management Board are publicly accessible both in terms of webstreaming and to those wishing to attend in person. EFSA will assess during 2006 how the transparency of its scientific and other activities can be improved further to stakeholders and the public at large.

9. During 2006 the Authority will continue through the work of the Advisory Forum to foster close collaborative relations with the national agencies and authorities in the enlarged Europe . The Forum which brings together the heads or scientific directors of the national agencies provides the Authority with advice on emerging concerns and facilitates the exchange of scientific data and information. In 2006 the Advisory Forum will focus more than before on scientific issues with in-depth discussion on national and international approaches and priorities. The EFSA information technology system linking EFSA with the Advisory Forum and national experts, Extranet, and the videoconferencing facility which also links EFSA with the members of the Forum will be fully functional in 2006. This increasing practice of exchanging information on EFSA and national activities, information and data, both at and in-between meetings will be further developed in 2006. Therefore EFSA will place emphasis on the development of further exchange mechanisms and work-sharing between EFSA and the Members States guided by the outcome of the activities of the Working Group of the Advisory Forum on the Input of National Authorities to EFSA's scientific activities. Through the Communications Working Group of the Advisory Forum the development of growing collaboration between the Communications Departments of all national agencies will continue to be fostered.

10. In addition to EFSA's close cooperation with national food safety agencies, EFSA will also enhance its collaboration with other competent national organisations designated by the Member States under Article 36 of EFSA's founding Regulation following the list's approval by the Management Board also due in 2006. It is foreseen that where appropriate and desirable a number of specific projects will be outsourced in 2006 to such competent organisations. This will further strengthen the collaboration between EFSA and organisations in the Member States enabling EFSA to network more fully with scientific institutes and organisation.

11. EFSA has already commissioned scientific work including preparatory work for opinions and studies with outside contractors. In 2006 it will consider how best this work can be undertaken. Outsourcing will play an increasingly important role in enabling EFSA to deliver its overall remit, tasks and obligations. EFSA will also engage fully with the members of the Advisory Forum to consider which work can be undertaken by national Authorities. The Scientific Committee and Panels however will remain responsible for the full content of their opinions also when (part of) the preparatory work was outsourced. EFSA will of course through its in house review procedures continue to monitor contractors engaged to undertake scientific work to ensure that the quality and legitimacy of the work appropriately meet EFSA's high standards.

12. Since its early days EFSA has fostered the development of dialogue and appropriate relations with Stakeholders as part of its overall policy on governance, openness and transparency. EFSA recognises that any dialogue is a two-way process and will continue to ensure that its activities are not just open to scrutiny but that stakeholders are given the opportunity to comment on these and provide input for consideration. Through such initiatives as the Stakeholder Consultative Platform, its annual Stakeholder Colloque and regular meetings with stakeholder organisations on specific scientific subjects EFSA will continue to listen to stakeholders' concerns, ideas and criticisms so as to enable a fruitful two-way dialogue. EFSA will also continue to develop its practice of consulting stakeholders on key scientific matters which are suitable for in-depth dialogue and will also continue its practice of holding bi-lateral meetings with stakeholder organisations to identify specific matters of concern and interest.

13. EFSA will continue to forge links with its institutional partners to ensure that it is available to inform risk managers on scientific matters and to also enter into dialogue concerning the future development and work of the Authority as proposals on these aspects are developed. In this respect ESFA will seek regular contact and exchanges with the European Commission, European Parliament and Member States . Relationships already forged with the newly established European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will be enhanced to identify joint initiatives and matters for collaboration. EFSA will also continue to work with EMEA, EEA, ECDC and other European Agencies on issues of common interest to ensure appropriate collaboration and exchanges.

14. As EFSA's work becomes more widely known it has started to gain a world wide reputation for its scientific work and high quality standards. Already EFSA works in regular contact with international and third country food and feed safety organisations. During 2006 EFSA will seek to further consolidate the already useful exchanges and collaboration. EFSA will also continue to develop integration activities with candidate countries through its PHARE and other activities notably with Romania , Bulgaria , Croatia and Turkey .

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