Fake news are so widespread that science, in particular in food and health sectors, is now placed on a political pyre. Europe must defend science and the scientific method, and must continue setting the tone worldwide.
Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis
On 4 November 2019, Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis participated in a Citizens' Dialogue with 60 citizens in the town of Plungė, 300 km away from the capital city Vilnius. The event took place in the public library, located in the neo-gothic Oginski Manor built in the XIX century. The audience consisted of representatives of civil society, local media, healthcare services, agri-food business, and city municipality.
There was a hot and open discussion moderated by Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Head of the EC Representation in Lithuania.
The discussion started with current hot topics, such as climate change and Sustainable Development Goals, status of demography and democracy in the EU and in Lithuania in particular.
The discussion was inclusive and took longer than initially planned because of the many questions from the audience. It was a hands-on mythbusting exercise, as Commissioner Andriukaitis addressed numerous cases of misinformation or disinformation regarding food safety, health and climate.
The interactive discussion revolved around a number of issues related to the current EU policies and the way forward. Citizens were asking about and commenting on the following issues in particular:
- - impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on human health;
- - credibility of GMO research;
- - evolution of diseases and illnesses;
- - safety and usefulness of food supplements;
- - impact of vitamins and nutrients on human health;
- - EU as a global actor – can it stand up to the USA, China, Brazil;
- - imports from third countries: anti-fraud, SPS controls, audits;
- - access to healthcare services – where does Lithuania stand from the EU perspective.
The event in Plungė was part of a series of Citizens' Dialogues that involve the whole European Commission and take place in all EU Member States.