Brussels, 08 Jul 2003
Subject: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms and traceability of food and feed products produced from genetically modified organisms and amending Directive 2001/18/EC
­ Outcome of the European Parliament's second reading
(Strasbourg, 30 June to 3 July 2003)
The Rapporteur, Mr. Antonios TRAKATELLIS (EPP-ED, GR) introduced his report, containing 21 amendments, on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy. Other groups of MEPs tabled a further 8 amendments to the common position.
In the joint debate which was held on genetically modified organisms [Genetically modified food and feed, Karin Scheele (2001/0173 COD) and Traceability and labelling of GMOs, Antonios Trakatellis (2001/0180 COD)] the Rapporteur emphasised the importance of adopting both regulations as part of the wider arsenal of legislation aimed at regulating the area of genetically modified food and feed.
The proposed rules on the traceability and labelling of GMOs, in particular, would contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market, as well as allow for better consumer information and, possibly, lead to the lifting of the current moratorium. The rapporteur favoured a swift adoption of the regulation and stated that he would prefer if the plenary adopted a text as close as possible to that of the common position.
On behalf of the Commission, Commissioner WALLSTRÖM, expressed the hope that Parliament and Council agree on the amendments adopted in plenary, so that both dossiers, on food and feed and traceability, could be finalised during the July plenary. This agreement could be possible, because the gap between the Council and Parliament's positions had narrowed, as many of the amendments adopted at first reading had been incorporated in the common position. Agreement was furthermore possible in the light of the compromise agreement reached on the food and feed proposal on the issue of coexistence. The compromise reached there would provide for an adequate legal base which, linked with the forthcoming Commission initiative on guidelines for coexistence would provide Member States with the possibility of implementing appropriate measures to deal with coexistence.
Thirty-three members of the European Parliament took part in the joint debate. Their interventions reflected not so much divergences on the legislation at hand, but rather their underlying views on the broader issue of the use of genetically modified organisms.
Speakers on behalf of the PPE-DE were broadly in favor of regulating the use of GMOs at European level so that their potential could be explored and that the de facto moratorium could be lifted.
For the PSE a number of speakers stated that, while the legislation at hand was not ideal, it was necessary to provide Europe with a legal regulatory framework as soon as possible in view of the undeniable reality of GMOs.
Similarly, Mr. Davies (ELDR, UK) explained that while he felt that Europe was being driven too fast by narrow commercial interests, mainly concentrated in the United States, he believed that imperfect as the compromise package was (on GM food and feed), the proposed legislation would have the merit of providing consumers with information so that they make their own choices.
In the same line, speakers from the group GREENS/ALE expressed the view that although unsatisfactory - particularly in view of the agreed thresholds in GM food and feed which it considered too high - the compromises achieved would allow for an informed choice by consumers.
On behalf of the GUE/NGL Mr. Sjöstedt (S) called for greater caution and stricter rules in the authorisation and use of GM technology. Similarly, speakers on behalf of the UEN, the EDD and some independent Members of Parliament (NI) called for caution in the use of genetically modified organisms, and warned against the lifting of the EU moratorium on GM organisms
The plenary adopted 6 amendments to the Common Position, all of which the Commission can accept.
In particular, the Commission welcomed amendments 3, 4, 18, 17 (part 2), 8 (part 1) and 13 (part 1) because they provide clarification to the common position.
The text of the amendments adopted and the European Parliament's legislative Resolution are set out in Annex hereto.