The EU’s top scientist no longer supports the EU

Professor Mauro Ferrari has resigned in protest at the EU’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.


The president of the European Research Council (ERC) – the European Union’s flagship scientific institution – resigned yesterday in protest at the EU’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Professor Mauro Ferrari said the EU’s response was so poor that it had shaken his faith in the EU itself.

In a statement to the Financial Times, Ferrari said he had ‘arrived at the ERC a fervent supporter of the EU [but] the Covid-19 crisis completely changed my views’.

‘I am afraid that I have seen enough of both the governance of science and the political operations at the European Union… I have lost faith in the system itself’, he continued.

Ferrari is not the only prominent pro-EU figure whose faith in the EU has been shaken by the coronavirus crisis.

The former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis was once one of the staunchest advocates of a ‘Remain and Reform’ agenda. But last week he conceded that ‘the British did the right thing’ in voting for Brexit: ‘I don’t think the EU is capable of doing anything to us other than harm.’

The EU is falling apart at the seams. The main argument for an organisation like the EU is that it can respond more adeptly to international challenges. Instead, as spiked has argued, the EU has at best been an irrelevance, and at worst a hindrance to national governments.

Let’s hope more Europeans wake up to the EU’s failings.

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Dominic Straiton

8th April 2020 at 4:46 pm

Science and politics doesnt mix. Science has nothing to do with consensus or “settled science”

Dominic Straiton

8th April 2020 at 4:44 pm

Science and politics doesnt mix.

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8th April 2020 at 4:13 pm

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Mike Oliver

8th April 2020 at 3:13 pm

I knew plenty of remainers who absolutely accepted the result because they believe in democracy.
The abuse, such as it was, was for remoaners who wanted to overturn the result. The country was practically brought to a standstill by the largely remoaner House of Commons. If they had succeeded it would have opened the door to questioning the legitimacy of every subsequent election.

Gordon Le Gopher

8th April 2020 at 4:00 pm

True Mike. I’d love there to be an option on a general election ballot paper one day of “none of them, they’re all power hungry egotists”

In fact we need a new political party calling itself “Power Hungry Egotists”. They’d definitely get votes for their honesty.

Jonathan Yonge

8th April 2020 at 2:48 pm

If the EU is fallilng apart its bad news for the UK.
Not much benefit in kicking it now – what is the best strategy to follow ?
– retain close llinks and help the EU reform ?
– get as far away as possible ?

Regardless of what the UK does, there is going to be division and acrimony. Is it possible it will produce a form of war ? Will the EU shed the ‘weaklings’ and a superior core develop ?


8th April 2020 at 5:13 pm

Jonathan, the UK’s ‘best strategy’ is what it’s been since the referendum.

i) Maintain and strengthen its democracy.

ii) Make its own laws in the interests of its own people.

iii) Aim, as far as is practical, for its international affairs to be conducted in line with suggestion that is expressed on the reverse of the recent 50p coin: ‘Peace prosperity and friendship with all nations’.

None of this will be easy, and the third is especially challenging. For immediate practical purposes aiming for friendship with most neighbouring countries means aiming for friendship with the EU. Well and good. That does not mean necessarily accepting all its laws, nor ignoring its blatant failings. Yet there is one thing that nobody in this country should delude themselves about: it is not our job to ‘help the EU reform’.

Gerard Allan

8th April 2020 at 2:32 pm

EU’s prime function is setting up barriers to trade with non EU countries. For that they need lots of bureaucrats not scientists. EU science is primarily to push ever closer union, scientists have to partner with other EU country scientists. It your prime objective is not the science when funding science you are not likely to get much good science out.


8th April 2020 at 1:16 pm

The EU doesn’t have a problem disagreeing with it, unlike China where they kill you if you speak out. China and Russian, not the EU, are the enemies of western liberty.

James Knight

8th April 2020 at 1:03 pm

Like Public Health England, you expect they would play a critical role but they turn out to be at best an irrelevance and at worst and obstacle.

Gordon Le Gopher

8th April 2020 at 11:27 am

This isn’t news to most of us. Most people don’t want a federal Europe and globalisation and open borders harms the common people more than it helps them. The EU was already irrelevant to everyone other than a small elite and it’s taken Coronavirus to show even them how irrelevant it is.

Looks like the experts are finally catching up.

David J

8th April 2020 at 1:00 pm

And yet, consider the abusive commentary meted out to the majority who dared to vote for leave.
Note also that the opposition party now has an avowed Remainer at its helm.
So the battle for independence is far from over.


8th April 2020 at 1:17 pm

What about the abuse meted out to the half of the country that voted REMAIN!

Gordon Le Gopher

8th April 2020 at 1:53 pm

Chill David, with Starmer in charge they’ll stay in opposition for an awful long time.

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