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“Precaution and innovation in Europe” – a citizen meeting in Sofia

On June 23, 2019 ARC Fund hosted a half-day citizen meeting in Sofia to discuss the topic of precaution and innovation. The meeting brought together 27 participants representing different social groups, professions, cities and age. Similar meetings were organised in four other countries – Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Italy. The aim of the meetings was learn what EU citizens think about fairness, risk and safety in relation to research, precaution and innovation.

Prior to the event in Sofia, participants received an information material which aimed to assist them in their reflections before and during the citizen meeting. The material briefly presented the essence of the precautionary principle, its implementation in the EU and the relationship between precaution and innovation. It also presented the topics of GMO, nanotechnology and pesticides in order to exemplify precaution and innovation.

During the meeting, participants expressed their opinions on precaution and innovation through a questionnaire and group interviews. Although the discussions showed that the topic of precautionary principle is still new for the participants, they were eager to share their thoughts on questions such as which of the two – precaution or innovation – should have a higher priority, what are the ethical and moral aspects of the precautionary principle and who should be involved in its application and further development. They also discussed their trust in politicians regulating technologies and provided their insights about what should be required to ban a certain product/technology.

The results of the citizen meeting in Bulgaria will be summarised in a national report and will feed into an analytical report covering the information from all five national reports. The concluding report will be presented to policy-makers and the EU Commission.

The meeting in Sofia was held as part of the RECIPES project, which is a Horizon 2020 project that ARC Fund participates in together with ten other partners from Europe. More information about the project is available at:


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