Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen wants the European Union to make a decision on the location of the EU Food Authority already during the Greek EU Presidency.
At the EU summit in Brussels on Friday, Lipponen said that a final decision should be made at the EU summit in Thessaloniki in June.
EU Commissioner David Byrne has criticised the proposal to locate the Food Authority in Helsinki, saying that it is too remote from the rest of Europe. However, the decision is up to the EU member states.
“Byrne can say what he likes, but it would be wiser for him not to say anything more.” Lipponen said.
At the summit French President Jaques Chirac came out in support of a Finnish-Italian proposal to set up the European Food Authority in Helsinki and the Italian city of Parma. Under the proposed compromise, the food safety office would be in located in Helsinki, while the office dealing with regional issues and labels of origin would be set up in Italy.
The European Food Authority now operates in Brussels on a temporary basis. In September EU Presidency holder Greece suggested that this arrangement could be made permanent.
YLE24 Finnish News Agency