EESC Opinion: Co-existence between genetically modified crops, and conventional and organic crops (link)

January 10, 2005

Brussels, 16 December 2004

OPINION of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Co-existence between genetically modified crops, and conventional and organic crops
Full text of Opinion in MS Word file on ESC website

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Introduction The EESC considers it necessary to develop and lay down rules on coexistence between the cultivation of genetically modified crops on the one hand, and the conventional and organic cultivation of crops and environmental protection on the other. These rules must be sustainable, legally certain, and practicable, and must apply to the entire food sector and to agricultural, fishery and forest production including that for pharmaceutical, non-food and research purposes. The Commission a) wants to leave significant aspects of coexistence to national legislation, and b) is minded to address the issue of the adventitious or technically unavoidable presence of GMOs in non-GMO seed, which is central to the future of coexistence, by means of the comitology procedure under Directive 2000/18 and under the directives on the marketing of seed. Therefore, the EESC is not being consulted on these issues. It therefore makes sense to join the debate on these issues by drawing up an own-initiative opinion, thus drawing particular attention to the associated economic and social issues and providing an opinion on these to the Council, the Commission and the Parliament. The purpose of this own-initiative opinion is twofold: firstly, to shed light on the most important substantive aspects of coexistence; and secondly, to make proposals as to which of these aspects should, in the EESC's view, be dealt with by European legislation, which should be dealt with by national legislation, and what practical objectives and guidance the relevant businesses, in particular farms, need. As the Commission ended the moratorium on marketing GMOs as foodstuffs, which had been in force since 1998, in May this year and intends to take a decision in the near future on the cultivation of GMOs, it is of vital importance to set up a practical framework for coexistence. General preliminary remarks and definitions of terms Due to the authorisation of the marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs): for plant and microbe cultivation and stock farming;

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European Economic and Social Committee

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