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Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle will take up the post of executive director at the European Food Safety Authority on 1 June for a five-year term, following her appointment by the EFSA management board.

Stuart Slorach, chair of the Management Board, said: “I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle to the position of executive director. EFSA is at a critical stage in its development and I am confident that Catherine has both the professional and personal qualities required to lead the Authority through this important phase. Involved with EFSA since its creation, committed to the EU food safety system and experienced in managing food safety policy at EU and national levels, Catherine will consolidate and build on the Authority’s achievements in years to come.”

Echoing the sentiment of the European Commissions proposals to improve transparency and communication between the EFSA, EC and member countries over the controversial issue of genetically modified organisms, Geslain-Lanéelle said: “independence does not mean absence of dialogue”. The EC, the European Parliament and Member States need to rely on an independent and transparent risk assessment process to enable the formulation of informed risk management policy, she said, adding that communications and co-ordination were key to achieving this.

Commenting on her appointment, Geslain-Lanéelle said: “I very much look forward to joining EFSA and to help this young organisation consolidate its strengths and build a successful future. I will seek to encourage dialogue at all levels. Streamlining the Authority’s work will also be a key focus: much can be gained for the European public by networking with Member States to handle the heavy scientific workload and face potential budgetary constraints. I am committed to enhancing the transparency of the Authority’s working processes and to keeping the public informed through effective risk communications.”