October 5, 2016
Guest blog post by Hans Muierman, chemicals coordinator at PAN Europe.
European Court of Justice this week ruled that European Commission violated the laws on transparency and access to documents. Using vague and unsubstantiated arguments, the NGO PAN Europe was denied access to documents that might demonstrate who in Commission is behind changing democratically approved policy on endocrine disrupting chemicals. This is just an example in a long row of cases where European Commission considers itself a special ‘cast’ of people that do not have to obey rules as other Europeans and do not care about the official policy on transparency of the EU. EU Commission services like to do business behind closed doors and keep the public at a distance.
Another example in the row is the re-approval of the pesticide Glyphosate. Being aware of the big resistance of the public against keeping the chemical on the market, EU Commission still reapproved it for some time without being backed by a qualified majority of the EU member states. EU-chair Mr. Juncker used this example in his “ state of the union” speech to announce that the procedure of re-approval should be changed to be more ‘political’. While hundreds of decisions are made by Commission behind closed doors without any public knowledge, Mr. Juncker clearly didn’t like the influence of the public on the decision-making in this single case and now is looking for a way to get rid of this undesired influence. Sleep well, dear European citizens, Mr. Juncker is watching.
The case of endocrine disrupting chemicals was also mentioned by Mr. Juncker in his speech as a topic that would need another way of decision-making. Not coincidentally on this topic again the public is concerned. Many citizens, as well as the scientific community, are unhappy about the lack of protection by EU Commission against the harms of this group of chemicals. Billions of costs and suffering of the public in terms of health effects are tolerated by EU Commission just to serve a handful of commercially interested parties and the crusade of the US for free trade.
Mr. Juncker and his Commission ignore the frustration and anger of large parts of the European public. In contrast to the Brussels illusions sold on “stimulation of jobs and growth”, many people experience the opposite, the loss of jobs by the blind globalization supported by the EU. Also people observe that the reduction of pensions and increase of retirement age as a result of the games played by the financial system are not put to a halt by the EU. Frustration is growing and the support for the EU is decreasing. The total negligence of the feelings of the public by Commission such as on Glyphosate or endocrine disruption likely adds to the mistrust and anger.
It’s time for a complete U-turn in Brussels, to begin with getting people on board that really care about EU citizen’ s and their concerns such as on health and the environment.