Brussels, 1 December 2005
The Council will vote on a proposal from the Commission to authorise the GM maize known as MON863XMON810 for import and processing in the EU. The maize is the first hybrid product to be proposed for authorisation under the current EU legislation on GMOs. It is a combination of two products which have already been authorised – maize MON863, which the Commission authorised on 8 August 2005 for import and processing as animal feed for a period of ten years, and maize MON810, which has been authorised since 1998. MON 863xMON810 has been genetically modified to become resistant to corn rootworm and to certain other pests.
The maize was originally assessed by the German authorities, who concluded that there was no evidence for risks. EFSA confirmed this assessment. Consequently the Commission proposed to authorise the placing on the European market of MON863/MON810 for import and processing. The Regulatory Committee composed of member states representatives did not reach a qualified majority to produce an opinion. Therefore, the proposal was referred to Council, who must now vote on it. The Council can either adopt or reject the decision with a qualified majority. If no qualified majority is reached, the file will come back to the Commission for final adoption.
Next steps on GMOs
Following the decision of the October Environment Council, ministers will have a policy debate on the future of GMO policy. Ministers are invited to address one question from the Presidency: ‘Which aspects of policy on GM crops and food merit further in-depth analysis and political discussion, such as the potential risks and benefits of GM technology (including the regulatory regime and the decision-making process for individual GMOs) and the need for further research?’
The Commission will present an information note describing the existing legal framework, and setting out its views on the issue raised. As regards future steps, it notably refers to upcoming reports on the implementation and operation of Directive 2001/18 and Regulation 1829/2003 and the mid-term review of the Strategy for Europe on Life Sciences and Biotechnology.