The European Commission moved one step closer this week to establishing the food safety edifice for the European consumer with the launch of the hunt for an executive director to head up the new European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The Authority is a major component of the wide ranging reform of EU food law launched by the Prodi Commission in its January 2000 White Paper on Food Safety. In a statement this week, David Byrne, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "During the past two years I have put in place many major initiatives to ensure that the safety of the food supply is protected, and of these the creation of the European Food Safety Authority is the most far reaching.
By initiating procedures for the selection and nomination of the executive director, an operational Authority is one step closer."
The EFSA is the cornerstone of Byrne's strategy that is striving to improve the safety of the European food supply. There are hopes in Brussels that the new EFSA will be operational as soon as possible in 2002.
Immediately following the adoption of the Regulation, the Commission published a call for expression of interests for the management board in the national press, the Official Journal of the European Communities and on the EFSA website (1 February). The next phase has been launched with a similar process to recruit an executive director.
The management board has to be established first and then the executive director can be appointed. The appointment of the management board, which is composed of 14 members and a representative of the Commission, follows a procedure involving the Council and the European Parliament. The Commission will identify a list of suitable candidates from which the Council will choose after having heard the views of the European Parliament.