Commission asks Council to agree on its proposal to grant Member States more subsidiarity on GMO cultivation.
On the 26th September 2013, the General Court of the European Union delivered a ruling finding that the Commission failed to act on a GMO cultivation request which had been submitted twelve years ago in 2001.
In line with this ruling, the Commission today acted by referring the cultivation request to the Council of Ministers. It is now up to the Ministers to take a position by qualified majority on this request. The European Food Safety Agency had already submitted a positive opinion on this request in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012, in all six positive opinions.
This 2001 request falls under the "old" pre-Lisbon comitology procedure, which means that if the Council is not able to muster a qualified majority, either for or against the authorisation, then the Commission is obliged by law to grant the authorisation.
In parallel, the Commission has requested a fresh debate in the Council of Ministers of its so-called "cultivation proposal" on which the European Parliament has already adopted its opinion which would allow Member States to restrict or prohibit cultivation of GMOs on their territory on grounds other than those relating to risks to health and the environment.
Commissioner in charge of Health, Tonio Borg, said: "Duty bound to comply with the ruling of the Court, the Commission has decided today to send a draft decision of authorisation of the maize 1507 to the Council: in the coming months, ministers will be invited to take a position on this authorisation request".
Commissioner Borg continued: "The Court's decision on maize 1507 confirms the urgency of reconciling strict and predictable European authorisation rules for GMO cultivation, with fair consideration of national contexts. Three years ago, the Commission tabled a proposal, broadly supported by both the Parliament and the Council, to provide a solution to the current deadlock on the authorisation process. I therefore urge Member States to engage and support the Commission's proposal, so that the Presidency and Council can form a compromise enabling the Cultivation proposal to move forward."
The Commission has requested a discussion with Member States during the Environmental Council which will meet on 13 December 2013.
Wednesday November 6, 2013/ European Commission/ European Union.