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Cultivation of GMOs jurisdiction of Member States

Council of the European Union approved a directive that sets new rules for the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Member States. The rules confirmed today will enter into force 20 days after their publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

The new rules give Member States the freedom of choice and greater flexibility on the cultivation of GMOs. Member States may during the process of authorization of GMOs intervene at two points. Firstly during the authorization procedure when a member state can ask to amend the geographical scope of the application, and secondly after a GMO has been authorized a member state may ban or restrict the cultivation of the crop on grounds such as those related to environmental or agricultural policy objectives, or other compelling grounds such as town and country-planning, land use, socio-economic impacts, co-existence and public policy. Until now, member states could ban or restrict the use of a GMO on their territory only in case of emergency or if they found new evidence that the organism concerned constitutes a risk to human health or the environment.

The new rules also provide that member states in which GMOs are cultivated must take care to avoid cross-border contamination into neighboring member states in which these GMOs are banned.

Jānis Dūklavs, the Latvian minister for agriculture and President of the Council said: “/Member States/ can decide whether they want genetically modified crops to be cultivated on their territory or not. This is in line with the subsidiarity principle and respects citizens’ and farmers’ preferences.”


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