The Netherlands and Estonia are leading 14 member states of the European
Union (EU) in a call to the next European Commission to update EU's laws
regarding new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs).
The group of countries requested a common EU approach on gene editing and
called for a revision of EU GMO rules to be added to the working program in
the next European Commission. In their opinion, an update is necessary after
last year's ruling by the European Court of Justice saying that organisms
obtained by mutagenesis should be considered GMOs and therefore subject to
the safety and marketing obligations laid down in the EU's GMO directive.
The Dutch delegation said that, although the European Court of Justice
ruling provided more legal clarity on the legal status of mutagenesis and
other NPBTs, it also invoked many other practical issues which can only be
resolved by the European legislator. The delegation also reminded EU
ministers that organisms obtained by mutagenesis have been used in farming
for many years and have a long safety track record.
Apart from the Netherlands and Estonia, EU countries supporting a unified
approach to NPBTs include Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.