As rapporteur on the position on the European Commission’s proposal concerning the non-nuclear actions of the Joint Research Centre under the relevant FP7 Specific Programme, I have to express my satisfaction with the Commission’s proposal given the importance of the JRC’s activities. The JRC today provides the scientific base that is needed for EU legislation, making it of utmost importance that it continues its work. I am also firmly convinced that its support should be extended to other institutions and in particular to the European Parliament.
Nevertheless, there are several matters of concern, for example the fact that the JRC’s work remains unknown within the EP, while having a proper parliamentary support would be most useful when lawmakers have to take decisions. It is important to stress that more than 25 percent of EU legislation has indeed a technical or scientific basis.
As rapporteur, I also consider that the Commission’s proposal needs reinforcing regarding the role of the JRC, the broadening of its activities, especially from the environmental perspective. As an example, we are very concerned with the need of developing and validating advanced methods for refining, reducing and replacing animal tests for biotechnological pharmaceuticals. Other worries include predicting the toxicity of chemicals by in-vitro cell cultures, toxicogenomics, environment problems, such as chemicals and emissions, environmental health, and ensuring compliance with EC4 and EC5. We would also like to see progress being made in the agricultural sector, namely when it comes to low input and organic agriculture, and the traceability of GMOs, among others.
Other areas where reinforcement is needed are international cooperation and foreign affairs, particularly in the context of the European neighbourhood policy. As greens we also want to see more action on climate change and renewable energy.
Moreover, social sciences and science and society are also very important issues for many European citizens. In a globalised world where interdependency is often the case, funding research in the field of socials sciences is essential to advance in natural sciences.
Last, but no least, there is the issue of Information and Communication Technologies, here I refer to Free and Open Source Software, including legal protection, which is also a core green issue. In the past we already welcomed the fact that the JRC had produced the only software ever distributed under the GPL licence ICT.
We would like this experience not only to be repeated but to be extended, particularly when it comes to all aspects concerning the IP rights. Thus, the diffusion of the work of the JRC would be facilitated and so a legal framework could be provided for other Commission’s DGs produced software.
In any case, my report mainly tries to stress the crucial importance of the JRC in order to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. It also emphasises the need to give continuous support to the JRC in order to allow it to function as a centre of science and technology reference for the EU, independent of private and national interests.
David Hammerstein Mintz is a member of the European Parliament from