The EU GM approval and co-existence debate and policy

B5 - Sunday 13:30 - 15:00


After restarting the GMO approval process two years ago the European Commission has approved only a few new GMOs for import as food and feed. All of these approvals have been enacted by use of a loophole in the legislation, which allows for Commission approval against a majority of member states. Will the same approval procedure now also be used to authorize new GMO varieties for cultivation? First cultivation approvals have recently been suggested by the EFSAs scientific panel. However some Commissioners believe such approvals can only be granted once the question of co-existence has been resolved.

National bans on EU-approved GMOs on the other hand have been defended by a two-thirds majority of member states against the Commission. Some Commissioners now put their hopes on a pending WTO ruling on the EU approval process, which has been brought forward by the USA and Canada.

This workshop will present the state of the political impasse between member states and aims at a joint lobbying strategy and policy against new GMO approvals.


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Key participants and speakers:

Eric Gall (Greenpeace International - European Unit, Belgium)
The GMO Approval Process in Europe: Failures and Opportunities

Helen Holder (FoE Europe, Belgium)
The EU GM approval and coexistence debate

Pete Riley (Five Year Freeze, UK)
Legal Opinion on EC Recommendations on Coexistence2003/556/EC


Background Documents


Paul Lasok (2005)
In the matter of co-existence, traceability and labelling of GMOs
A legal advice in relation to particular issues arising from Directive 2001/18/EC, member states obligations to establish co-existence regimes, the effects on the labelling requirements, and on requirements of the regulation on Organic Production. one-page summary

Friends of the Earth Europe (November 2004)
Throwing caution to the wind
A 20-page review of the European Food Safety Authority and its work on genetically modified foods and crops

Greenpeace (April 2004)
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): Failing Consumers and the Environment
The GMO panel of EFSA was set up to contribute to an improved risk assessment of GM crops in the EU, but analysis of assessments made so far by EFSA shows that it has not contributed to a higher level of consumer and environmental protection from GM crops and foodstuffs.

EU Commission (July 2003)
Recommendation on guidelines for the development of national strategies and best practices to ensure the coexistence of genetically modified crops with conventional and organic farming

EU Commission (2000)
Communication from the Commission on the precautionary principle