Next steps on GMOs in view of Environment Council's policy debate on 2 December

November 14, 2005

Brussels, 11 November 2005

Full text of Document 14268/05
Suite of documents 14268/05

10 November 2005

NOTE from: Presidency to: COREPER/COUNCIL

Subject: Next Steps on GMOs in view of the Environment Council's policy debate on 2 December 2005

1. There was a short discussion of European perspectives on the future use of GMOs as crops and food and the European decision-making process on GMOs under Any Other Business at the Environment Council on 17 October 2005. At the conclusion of that agenda item the President of the Council undertook to organise a further discussion at the 2 December Environment Council, in view of the political significance of the issue to some delegations.

2. Decisions about which GMOs can be consumed or grown in the EU as a whole have been taken by Member States collectively under a regime of safety testing, monitoring and control which dates back to 1990. Member States agreed to strengthen this legal framework with the introduction of the Deliberate Release Directive (Directive 2001/18/EC ) and subsequently by the regulations on Food and Feed (Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 ), and Traceability and Labelling (Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 ). International rules on safe use, handling identification and transport of GMOs are in place via the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety, which came into force in September 2003 and has been ratified by 1 countries.

3. There are different views in the EU about the use of biotechnology in general and the consumption, cultivation and use of GMOs in particular, including the decision-making process for the approval of individual GMOs.

4. Against this background, Ministers are invited to offer views on:

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.

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