On March 10th, the European Brain Council (EBC) met with Leon Delvaux, President Juncker’s adviser on Health and Food Safety, and Sigrid Wimmer from DG SANCO.
The following issues were addressed:
  • Horizon 2020 budget cuts: The main purpose of this meeting was to introduce EBC’s work, and present a position paper endorsed by EBC members regarding Horizon 2020 budget cuts caused by Juncker’s investment plan. This document is meant to call the European Commission to enshrine an efficient scientific oversight – that the EBC could provide – in the management of the programme, to ensure that research and innovation are sustained. Further to the concerns raised on this matter, Leon Delvaux emphasized that research will also be a strong part of Juncker’s investment plan: therefore, rather than ‘budget cuts’, this action will result in a different way to finance research.
  • Health in the European Semester: Every year around November, the European Union sets up a yearly cycle of economic policy coordination called the European Semester, to analyse EU member states plans on structural reforms. In this respect, the EBC expressed on behalf of its members the need to invest in health as a precondition for prosperity. In addition, the EBC believes that the principle of subsidiarity currently applied has failed to address health issues, as the EU does not succeed in optimizing knowledge generated by member states. On this matter, Leon Delvaux indicated that this issue should indeed be looked further into, and asked to be kept updated with any information the EBC can provide.
  • Clinical trials regulation: The EBC stressed that Europe is not an easy place to conduct clinical trials despite high numbers of talented Scientists in this field. “This is due to the excessively harsh EU regulation and to unnecessary restrictive controls based on false premises” David Nutt, President of EBC, declared.