Nieuws - 14 juni 2001

First EU internet chat session chaotic

First EU internet chat session chaotic

On Wednesday 6 June, David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and consumer issues and Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, rural development and fisheries, answered questions from the public on the future of agriculture and food safety in the EU by means of the internet. The chat session was the first in its kind, set up to involve the public more actively in EU policy.

It was held in the eleven languages of the European Union, but in practice only the English chat was transmitted. The commissioners were confronted with various questions, varying from the future location of the European Food Authority, to whether organic food is healthy or not, and how the EU can stimulate multifunctional agriculture in the EU. Another question that was aptly raised was whether organising such an internet chat is the best way to involve the public in policy making. It was a fairly chaotic affair, with more than twenty active participants conducting parallel discussions with the commissioners.

A full report of the chat can be found at

Joris Tielens