Draft seed regulation rejected
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The European Commission's proposal for plant reproductive material law, also known as the “seed regulation”, was voted down by Parliament on 11 March 2014, amid concerns that it would give the Commission too much power and leave EU countries without any leeway to tailor the new rules to their needs. Following the Commission’s refusal to withdraw its draft text and table an improved one, Parliament closed the first reading.
The Commission's draft text was rejected by 650 votes to 15. "The vote shows the depth of Parliament's dissatisfaction with the Commission's proposal, which failed to meets its core objectives such as simplifying the rules and promoting innovation. It also prompted many concerns among MEPs, for instance about merging 12 directives into a single directly-applicable regulation with no leeway for member states to tailor new rules to their needs", said Agriculture Committee chair Paolo De Castro.
Since the Commission refused to withdraw its proposal after Parliament rejected it, MEPs finalised the first reading and sent their position to the Council. If the Council supports Parliament's rejection, then the legislation process will end. Alternatively, the Council could amend the original Commission's proposal. If it does so, then Parliament could either reject the Council's amendments at the second reading - and thus kill the legislative proposal for good - or it could start negotiations with the Council on the final wording of the new seed legislation. More information is available here.
IFOAM comments: This shows that the future of seed is of major societal concern and cannot be dealt with in a rush and on the basis of a text that contains many flaws. The Commission must now make use of the “extended summer break” – the time before the new Parliament starts its legislative work - to come up with significantly improved proposals that ensure market access for those seed producers that preserve and develop our genetic diversity. Commission must remove bureaucratic rules unfairly restricting their entry. Agro-biodiversity must be the focus of new seed marketing rules. This means:
- Farmers and gardeners must be free to exchange and sell seed to the end user without any bureaucratic burden
- Traditional varieties and new varieties and populations that are bred using traditional methods and have a broad intra-varietal genetic spectrum must be allowed to access to the EU single market with a simplified registration on the basis of an officially recognised description
- When testing varieties bred for organic farming and low input conditions criteria must be adapted accordingly
- Breeding methods must be made transparent when a variety is registered
- These possibilities must be given a solid basis in the legal text and not depend on delegated acts to be drafted by the Commission afterwards
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