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Head of EU’s top science panel quits over COVID-19 response

By AP

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Mauro Ferrari – Contributed photo

(AP) — The head of the European Union’s top science organization has quit at the height of the coronavirus crisis, a move he attributed to disappointment with the EU’s response to the pandemic and an EU spokesman said came after other scientists requested their colleague’s resignation.

Mauro Ferrari resigned Tuesday as president of the European Research Council, a position he held only since Jan. 1. Ferrari’s departure, announced via email, took immediate effect, a spokesman for the EU’s executive commission said Wednesday.

“The commission regrets the resignation of Professor Ferrari at this early stage in his mandate… and at these times of unprecedented crisis in which the role of EU research is key,” European Commission spokesman Johannes Bahrke said.

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 virus 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.”

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