Head of EU's top science panel quits over COVID-19 response
BRUSSELS -- The head of the European Union's top science organization has resigned at the height of the coronavirus crisis, an EU spokesman said early Wednesday.
Mauro Ferrari had only become president of the European Research Council on Jan. 1, but EU Commission spokesman Johannes Bahrke said that "I can confirm that Professor Ferrari resigned."
The news was first announced by the Financial Times, based on a statement released to the paper by Ferrari, who said he had "been extremely disappointed by the European response" to the pandemic. He complained about running into institutional and political obstacles as he sought to swiftly set up a scientific program to combat the virus.
"I have seen enough of both the governance of science, and the political operations at the European Union," he wrote in the statement. "I have lost faith in the system itself."
Bahrke said he hoped the commission would "be able to share more information very soon" on the circumstances of the resignation but did not elaborate further.
As the coronavirus spread from China to Italy, Austria, Spain and other EU nations, the bloc was criticized for not acting forcefully enough to set up a co-ordinated response even though health issues are still primarily a member state responsibility.
Over the past month, EU nations have been trying to work closer together and EU leaders have committed to better co-ordination to try to alleviate the human and economic suffering.