Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2014

Commission Daily News, 10 February 2014

GMOs - Commission calls on 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 acted by referring the cultivation request to the Council of Ministers in November. It is 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.

On the eve of the General Affairs Council and one day before the 3 months deadline for an opinion by the Council expires, Commissioner Borg said: "Duty bound to comply with the ruling of the Court, the Commission has decided to send a draft decision of authorisation of the maize 1507 to the Council. Tomorrow the General Affairs Council will debate and vote on a Council proposal to authorise the GM maize variety 1507 and Ministers will be invited to take a position on this authorisation request. I want to thank the Greek Presidency for tabling this point and stress that the Court's decision on maize 1507 confirms the urgency of re-launching discussions on the cultivation proposal made by the Commission back in 2010. This proposal would give Member States more freedom to choose whether or not to restrict or prohibit GMO cultivation on their territory on grounds other than those relating to risks to health and the environment."

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