On 21 June Parma officially becomes the home of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which advises the European Commission on food production methods and safety for all European member states. Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, and Jos-Manuel Barroso, president of the EU commission, will meet in Parma to welcome the authority to the city.
The local authorities and the Italian state are investing 700 million on works in the city which include widening of the ring road, a metropolitan railway, improvements to the railway station, the extension of the runway at the local airport and a congress centre. Some 700,000 has even been set aside for English language classes for local taxi drivers, barmen and local council workers.
There are 55 EFAS staff currently working in Parma; they are still in temporary offices and a decision has still to be taken about definite headquarters. By the end of 2005 there should be 189 EFAS employees working in the city, increasing to full strength of 300 by 2007.