We use a few different words here in politics so what in the US would be called a “secretary of….” here is a “minister”. Minister of agricultural affairs, given European subsidies one, if not the most important in terms of money, is trying to soften the public opinion about gen technology. The oldest strategy is used here, organizing “conferences” with “independent experts”. A pretty good strategy, but of course when it bounces, it usually bounces back hard.
Last June there was one of these symposia. A professor named Raoul Bino did a speech preaching “choosing for gen technology is choosing for sustainability”. The minister did send a conference report to parliament.
Now it turns out his Bino based everything he said and wrote on a report that was payed for by US gen tech giant Monsanto. Parliament is not amused it is being fed Monsanto-friendly fairy tales presented as scientific facts. As in most democracies, misinforming parliament is a sin that is not easily forgotten and has cost more than one his or her political head. Now I am sure this little mishap will have no political consequences: The minister already maneuvered herself away from Bino, and the professor himself will probably get away with the proverbial scientifically bleeding nose, but it proves how larger corporations (whether US based or not) try to infiltrate and influence the governments that need to keep them honest and in line. Lets keep our eyes open shall we?
Interesting but almost certainly unrelated coincidence: in April, Bino decided to leave the agricultural University to become dean at the Delft Technical university.