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Document 32015L0412

EU country flexibility in genetically modified organism cultivation

EU country flexibility in genetically modified organism cultivation

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive (EU) 2015/412 — on allowing EU countries to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms in their territory

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THIS DIRECTIVE?

It amends Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)* so that individual EU countries can ban or restrict their cultivation in their territory. Under the old rules, this was possible where the EU country had new evidence that the GMO concerned posed a risk to human health or to the environment.

KEY POINTS

The new directive adds wording to the 2001 directive. It is in line with the principle of subsidiarity, whereby it gives EU countries more flexibility on the cultivation of GMOs without affecting the environmental risk assessment, which is part of the EU’s GMO authorisation system in Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and in Directive 2001/18/EC. It allows individual countries to ban or restrict GMO cultivation under certain conditions:

  • as part of the authorisation procedure of a specific GMO a country can, within 45 days of the initial assessment, ask to amend the geographical scope of the authorisation to exclude all or part of its territory from cultivating the GMO;
  • after a GMO has been authorised, a country may ban or restrict its cultivation for reasons such as those related to:
    • environmental policy objectives,
    • agricultural policy objectives,
    • town- and country-planning and land-use issues,
    • socioeconomic impacts,
    • avoiding GMO presence in other products, and
    • public policy (restrictions cannot normally be based solely on this factor, nor can this outweigh environmental risk assessments).

The action taken by EU countries must conform to EU law and be reasoned, proportional and non-discriminatory. EU countries can later review their decisions and become reintegrated into the geographical scope of a GMO authorisation.

EU countries in which GMOs are cultivated must take action in border areas to avoid possible contamination of neighbouring EU countries where the cultivation of those GMOs is prohibited.

Reports

By 3 April 2019, the European Commission will report on the use of the directive to the European Parliament and to the Council, including its use by EU countries to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs and any effect it has on the EU internal market. Further legislative proposals could be proposed in the report.

The Commission will also report on the actual remediation of environmental damages that might occur due to GMO cultivation.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has applied since 2 April 2015.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

KEY TERMS

Genetically modified organism (GMO): an organism, with the exception of human beings, in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. This can allow plants and animals, for example, to be bred to give a higher yield or to resist disease.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive (EU) 2015/412 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 amending Directive 2001/18/EC as regards the possibility for the Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their territory (OJ L 68, 13.3.2015, pp. 1-8)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on genetically modified food and feed (OJ L 268, 18.10.2003, pp. 1-23)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only

Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 March 2001 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms and repealing Council Directive 90/220/EEC — Commission Declaration (OJ L 106, 17.4.2001, pp. 1-39).

See consolidated version

last update 08.03.2018

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