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Networks Position Paper about the proposal of the EU-Commission for Opt Out for food and feed


The European GMO-free Regions network would like to react to the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 as regards the possibility for the Member States to restrict or prohibit the use of genetically modified food and feed on their territory (COM(2015) 177 final).

1. From the Network´s perspective the European authorization procedure for genetically modified food and feed requires a fundamental change. In its work programme for 2015 the European Commission announced its intention to review the process for approving genetically modified organisms. However, the present proposal of the European Commission leaves the authorisation procedure unchanged. Against this background,  one must assume that the European Commission will continue to decide on authorisation matters without a qualified majority of Member States, if a positive EFSA opinion exists. However, a qualified majority is exactly the condition which has to be fulfilled.

2. The Network broadly welcomes the intention to give Member States and Regions a greater say and to extend their decision-making powers with respect to genetically modified food and feed. However we do not consider that the present proposal provides sufficient legal certainty to prohibit the use of genetically modified food and feed.

3. The Network regrets the failure to provide a list of examples of legal grounds on which a national prohibition could be justified. Such a listhas proved helpful in providing legal certainty in the past, for example in Directive (EU) 2015/412.

4. The Network explicitly regrets the absence of an impact assessment to the proposal.

5. The Network believes that a ban on using genetically modified food and feed could create a need for border checks between the Member States, could have a negative influence on the European single market, and might be unworkable in practice.

6. The Network supports the rationale and welcomes the fact that both the Committee of the Regions at his Plenary Session on 13 October 2015 and the European Parliament at the Plenary Session on 28 October 2015 rejected the European Commission proposal. The Network therefore calls for the withdrawal of the proposal.



Düsseldorf, on 29 October 2015

Download Position Paper

Berlin Declaration adopted

At the Conference 2015 within the GMO-free Europe Conference the Berlin Declaration was adopted. See here

Presidency of the European GMO-Free Regions Network passes from Marche to North Rhine Westphalia

Oct 1

Written by:
10/1/2014 4:44 AM  RssIcon

Opt-out-regulation as an important topic for EU member states

Brüssel, 11th of September 2014.

Minister Malaspina (r.) is confident that the Parliamentary State Horst Becker, now represented by Dr. Diana Hein (l.), and the region North Rhine-Westphalia will bring forward with renewed enthusiasm the activities of the Network. Dr. Hans-Christoph Boppel (Landesvertretung NRW) (m.) delivered a welcome tribute floral.


Today, North Rhine Westphalia took over the presidency of the European GMO-Free Regions Network in Brussels. For two years Horst Becker, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the North-Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Environment, will hold the presidency of the network. In the run-up to the meeting Becker said:„The essential decisions regarding the application of genetic engineering are made in Brussels. That is why this network is so important. It provides strong partners across Europe for the protection of a regional gene-modified-free agriculture.“

The European GMO-Free Regions Network is an association of 62 regions from nine European states aiming at ensuring a GMO-Free cultivation in the member regions. Prior to North Rhine Westphalia, the Italian region Marche held the presidency chaired by Minister Maura Malaspina since November 2010.
 
High on the agenda for the future presidency is the so-called Opt-out-regulation. The EU member states should thereby be offered the possibility to prohibit the cultivation of gene-modified plants on their state territory. Concerning this matter the Council commented to a proposal of the European Commission in July. Currently the dossier is discussed in the European Parliament. The GMO-Free Regions Network debated on this topic with Representatives of the European institutions. “We made clear that the Member States need a legally certain possibility to prohibit the cultivation of gene-modified plants on their regions. This right should not be linked to other conditions, like prior consultations of proposers. Local or regional environmental impacts and socioeconomic consequences have to be involved by the grounds for prohibition”, says Becker.

Important topics which North Rhine Westphalia wants to address during its presidency are, along with the Opt-out-regulation, the provision of local, gene-modified-free protein feedstuffs and the pan-European effective identification rules for food. Concrete topics will be mutually defined by the members of the network.

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