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Uphill struggle

DGs need to cooperate on research.

For all its rhetoric about getting different entities—nations, companies, governments—to work together, the European Commission is surprisingly bad at cooperation. Its different directorates general (DGs)—31 departments looking after a specific policy brief each—are often accused of being insular and with some justification. For the commissioners, the politicians heading these departments, their portfolio is their raison d’être. They are keen to leave their mark and, as a result, become territorial about potential achievements.

This is understandable, but damaging. Policy briefs are not that easily divided. Many topics, such as the environment or industry, straddle several fields. Is the regulation of pesticides a health issue, a farming issue or something that should concern industry? This can lead to confused responsibilities, and in some cases, issues falling by the wayside.

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