API Condemns Commission Misinformation, Schinas Rejects Criticism

API has complained to European Commission chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas about the way he responded earlier this week to questions about the so-called glyphosate-issue. API President Tom Weingärtner wrote him this letter: 

Dear Margaritis,

API is concerned about the way you have responded this week to questions about the Glyphosate issue. As a result journalists were misinformed.

During the press conference after the college's session on Tuesday in Strasbourg, an AFP colleague asked questions about the admission of Glyphosate and 'perturbateurs endocriniens', and whether this was discussed or decided by the College.

You then replied (quote):

"Non, ces deux questions n'ont pas été évoquées. Je viens de citer les trois questions sur lesquelles le collège s'est penché aujourd'hui."

See: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I138661

But, on Wednesday (i.e. only a day later), when asked about this again in the press room in Brussels, spokeswoman Anca Paduraru answered this (quote):

"Commissioner Andriukaitis informed the college through an information note on the issue of the glyphosate. So on the basis of the information note, the college agreed on the approach to re-start the discussions with member states about the possible renewal of approval of glyphosate for 10 years. So it's a renewal of approval of glyphosate."

See: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I138701

This statement ('the college agreed') clearly contradicts your statement of Tuesday afternoon that the issue was not 'évoquée' by the college. We find this strange, because the subject was already mentioned on the College's public agenda (pt. 12) http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/10060/2017/DE/OJ-2017-2212-F1-DE-MAIN-PART-1.PDF

This means journalists on Tuesday were misled to believe that no decision had been taken and that the subject was not even mentioned in the college meeting.

In the light of the professed transparency by the Commission, we take this seriously and would likte to hear your explanation for this.

We are not naive enough to believe that the Commission always tells us the whole truth, but we have to be sure that the little we are told is at least not false. Otherwise work with the Commission becomes impractical.

With kind regards,

Tom Weingärtner

API President


Today we received this response from Margaritis Schinas:

Dear Tom, I categorically reject your assertion that I gave out false news or misled your colleagues on the issue you raise. 

I specifically referred in my College read out to the 3 issues discussed by the College ("évoquées") and not of course to the dozens of written documents, procedures and Information Notes seen - but not discussed/decided by - the Commissioners. 

On the specific issue you raise, Commissioner Andriukatis indeed submitted an internal Information Note on the state of play and prospects, but the issue was not discussed at all, nor any formal decisions were taken by the College on Tuesday. 

 If/when a formal decision is taken - as per the Commitology procedures - we shall of course announce in full transparency as per our well established channels. 

Both Anca and Alexander were crystal clear in their replies along these lines on Wednesday. You are of course perfectly entitled to judge on the quality of our work. Obviously, we feel the same temptation on yours, but I'm sure you'll appreciate that we are much more measured in our opinions. Much more than yourself in your mail below. 

 Hope this clarifies the situation. 

Let me assure you of our commitment to continue our close cooperation with API. 

Kind regards, 


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