This week's show features back-to-back interviews with the European commissioner for health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, who is also a heart surgeon, and Bernhard Uhl, the head of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Glyphosate politics: Speaking just after the EU reapproved the use of glyphosate, Uhl, whose EFSA agency concluded there is no health risk associated with agricultural use of the weedkiller, said it's nevertheless legitimate to discuss what kind of value system should support our agriculture. He wants critics of his agency though to admit that those values debates are “not about science,” while conceding that the intersection of science and values is “always a difficult interface.”
“Safest food in the world”: This month the EU celebrated 15 years of its landmark food safety law. Uhl insisted the law sets Europe apart and above other countries and regions which it comes to food “transparency,” “traceability” and “crisis preparedness.” The law was born out of the 1990s BSE crisis and “a real breakdown of trust into the whole food system and food safety system,” he said. In the podcast, hear how many of the claims proposed by food companies are rejected by Uhl's agency. “There was always the tendency to say this food makes you more intelligent, more young, more beautiful, more whatever. And if you don't have scientific substantiation for that we'll give a negative verdict,” he said.
Andriukaitis: EU can now hold national governments to account. Commissioner Andriukaitis talks about the European Commission's recent “State of Health in the EU” report and country profiles. He explains why he believes better data collection will allow the EU to nudge governments “more precisely” and hold them to account.
The EU's digital chain of 300 health policy laboratories: “We joined together more than 300 hospitals in 26 member states. Now we will launch an IT platform which can help us to connect from Lisbon to Helsinki," Andriukaitis said.
Time to upgrade status and tools of general practitioners: Although he is a heart surgeon, Andriukaitis believes medical students need incentives to turn to general practice rather than sexier specialities that give them easy access to new technology, medical innovations and big cities. Hear how he thinks that can be done.
EU WTF moment of the week: Germany's conservative Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt going rogue, and voting to renew the EU glyphosate license, without consulting Chancellor Angela Merkel and in defiance of his left-wing environment minister colleague, Barbara Hendricks. Die Welt revealed Wednesday, after this week's podcast panel had been recorded, that Hendricks herself went behind Schmidt's back to sign six executive orders banning certain types of fishing on the day before the German general election in September.
Dear POLITICO: The panel tries to help a would-be EU official who passed a competitive entrance exam only to be booted out of the EU system. Hear the story and the European Commission's response in the podcast.
Links to the stories mentioned in the 'EU Thumbs up' section can be found below:
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