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EU Top Scientist Resigns

(42 Posts)
Namsnanny Wed 08-Apr-20 13:28:28

Prof Ferrarri apparently lost faith in the EU system of organisation over Covid19 and has resigned.

Both sides have issued wildly differing statements on the reasons why.

He basically said he wanted to collate a group scientists etc. dedicated to eradicating Corvid19, to replace the improvised intuitions of political leaders

He is American, and used to getting things done I expect. Not having to go through reams of red tape perhaps?

Starblaze Wed 08-Apr-20 22:33:30

Of course but the point being, we should have shut down all transport in and out of the country and employed test and trace immediately. That's not ever going to be the fault of someone hugging their mum but that's how it will be played if we cannot bring this down to a reasonable level for too long.

Starblaze Wed 08-Apr-20 22:35:18

We also had people in positions of power shaking hands and swanning off to holiday homes. Not the best example to set really. However it will never be their fault.

Joelsnan Wed 08-Apr-20 22:57:21


growstuff Wed 08-Apr-20 23:34:02

I get your points Starblaze and agree with you. It's as though our leaders didn't take it seriously - it was something which was happening to people in other countries - like Ebola or Zika. They were appalling role models at a critical time.

Callistemon Wed 08-Apr-20 23:41:14

So - how are they supposed to have hundreds of thousands of test kits produced and waiting for a then unknown virus?
Or one that everyone thought could be contained within a locked down Wuhan?
And, when it emerged, they needed to know the RNA and then find the DNA of the virus.

Starblaze Wed 08-Apr-20 23:58:22

They wouldn't have needed hundreds of thousands of tests had they shut down straight away. That's the point. The NHS would be more able to cope if they hadn't underfunded it for 10 years. Another point. I have more if you need them? How about the report that came out shortly before the virus saying that the world was unprepared to fight a new novel virus? Not worth reading? Not worth taking into consideration when the first warnings came from Wuhan late last year? Or the experts who were shouting SHUT DOWN Now an the people who wpul be live right now if they had listened straight away? I probably still have more.

Callistemon Thu 09-Apr-20 00:03:34

I expect you do

Starblaze Thu 09-Apr-20 00:15:36

Sadly yes. I'm a bit cross about it. We could have beat this and prevented a lot of damage to the economy and all the losses that will bring too. We could have saved a hell of a lot of peoples mental health and we could have prevented people dying alone. That's not the spin they will put on it though.

NotSpaghetti Thu 09-Apr-20 01:51:26

You may be interested in this Callistemon (though a little off-thread) as it explains the way Germany went about testing and how the UK (and others) chose to do things differently and so are currently at a disadvantage:

Of course there was also Exercise Cygnus which was the pandemic drill in October 2016 that basically warned us we were under-prepared for a pandemic but which seems to have been swept under the carpet. All these things have contributed to us being in the state we are in at present.

?That was a very interesting and full piece M0nica - thanks for posting.

Cunco Thu 09-Apr-20 08:25:57

M0nica As you have said, there are always two sides to a story but if we accept the ERC viewpoint, it wasn't a great piece of recruiting. In answer to your question about why they appointed him in the first place, this from the EC on 14 May 2019 may help:

'The Commission’s decision followed a competitive selection procedure led by a high-level Search Committee. The Search Committee’s call for applications, launched in July 2018, attracted over 50 high-level applications. Following an evaluation process and interviews with the most promising candidates, the Search Committee presented a shortlist of the three most suitable candidates to Commissioner Moedas. The candidates met with the ERC Scientific Council, who also approved the appointment of Professor Ferrari. Professor Ferrari is appointed by the Commission for a 4-year term of office, renewable once.'

NotSpaghetti Thu 09-Apr-20 09:21:55

No, Cunco you are right - not good recruiting but they won’t be the first selection panel to have recruited someone who turns out to be not as they seem!!!

M0nica did say (partly in response to you) I am left wondering why they ever appointed him in the first place and why he ever accepted it.

Cunco Thu 09-Apr-20 09:59:53

There are plenty of discussions of what went wrong. This is one from The Guardian:

My own view is that Ferrari wanted an immediate response to the state of emergency and the EU was unable and unwilling to take that route. The EU is a project towards a United States of Europe and, until it gets there, the current EU seems poorly positioned to deal with crisis, as it was in 2008. Discussion of whether the EU will work well if or when it gets there is not for now; but perhaps what we should have been discussing for the past 40 years.

Callistemon Thu 09-Apr-20 10:01:35

Thanks NotSpaghetti and others.

M0nica Thu 09-Apr-20 14:56:11

Interesting Brexit response Cunco.

There would have been a job description and the inerview process would have made it absolutely clear what they expected of the job holder when appointed. The applicants would all have had opportunities to ask questions about anything they felt unsure about.

When something falls apart so spectacularly in such a short period of time and with such acrimony. The simple explanation is one side or the other or both simply f*cked up the whole recruitment process. It is not the first time that sort of thing has happened and it will not be the last.

In my corporate career I witnessed some disastrous appointments, though few where disillusion set in quite so quickly.

Namsnanny Thu 09-Apr-20 17:55:44

Italy is complaining the EU response is not cohesive or quick enough.

This seems to link into Prof Farrari's complaints.

NotSpaghetti Thu 09-Apr-20 21:48:28

But this isn't an "EU response" - it's the way this particular programme operates. It's non-directional which means that their whole raison d'etre is to give scientists the freedom to research in broad terms around their original funding. Not much funding gives the researchers the ability to change direction if something promising is discovered. This is the way science can leap forward unconstrained. It's a rare thing.