Risk assessment and dialogue at EU-level

The EU's risk assessment system consists of various independent bodies giving scientific advice to decision makers. These bodies operate within their specific relevant EU legal frameworks. However, close co-operation is essential to ensure consistency in the way they deal with issues of common interest (e.g. evaluating the risks posed by substances or technologies used in various applications falling under the remit of more than one Agency or Scientific Committee), and for sharing experience and best practices on risk assessment.

EU Risk Assessment system

In addition to the three non-food Scientific Committees managed by DG SANCO (SCCS, SCHER, SCENIHR), the EU Risk Assessment system includes, inter alia, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits ( SCOEL), managed by DG Employment.

EU co-operation on Risk Assessment

The Chairs and Coordinators of the bodies involved in risk assessment activities have decided to work together more closely to improve the quality, communication, added value and recognition of risk assessment, and thereby help improving risk management decisions.

In 2005, DG SANCO launched regular meetings of Chairs and Secretariats of the Scientific Committees and Panels of Community bodies involved in risk assessment as a standing forum for facilitating the sharing of best practices between risk assessors.

The objective is to develop best practices for risk assessment covering:

  • A common approach, containing general principles and engagement with stakeholders;
  • Clear and effective risk communication by using a consistent and clear terminology, a clear description of the scope and nature of risks, uncertainties and their implications;
  • A framework for EU and international co-operation including procedures for the exchange of data and information.

Risk assessment days

To engage into a dialogue with the European Parliament and relevant stakeholders, the Directorate General for Health and Consumers regularly holds information sessions for members and staff of the European Parliament, and dialogue sessions with stakeholders. The purpose of the risk assessment days is to present the three non-food Scientific Committees and their activities and results to these audiences, and to launch a more sustained and structured dialogue with them.

Part of the programme for those days is dedicated to joint meetings of the three Scientific Committees.