Brussels, 18 Oct 2002
The Council reached a political agreement on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with the German and Italian delegations abstaining. A common position will be adopted at a forthcoming Council session after the text has been finalised. It will be subsequently sent to the Parliament for a second reading under the co-decision procedure.
The proposal is designed to implement the Cartagena Protocol at Community level, which the Council decided to conclude, on behalf of the Community, at its session on 25 June 2002. While existing Community legislation to a large extent covers imports and trade in GMOs, the proposal is intended to fulfil the requirements under the Protocol on exporters by establishing a common system of notification and information for transboundary movements of GMOs.
The text of the proposal provides for:
- explicit consent by the importer: no first intentional transboundary movement of GMOs may be made without the express consent of the importing party;
- export of authorised GMOs only: no GMOs may be exported unless they are authorised within the Union or unless the competent authority of a third-country has expressly agreed to the import.
With regard to the identification of GMOs in mixtures, the aim of the proposal is to provide for consistency with Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs and with other current or future Community legislation covering traceability, labelling and identification of such GMOs.
The President stressed the importance of having reached an agreement on the dossier in view of the Community¡¯s overall obligations regarding the Protocol. He also informed the Council that there are currently just under 40 Parties to the Protocol, including the Community and six Member States.
The Protocol is expected to enter into force after reaching 50 oatiÑicationsK
Traceability and Labelling of GMOs
The Council held a policy debate on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and traceability of food and feed products produced from GMOs.
The Council requested the Permanent Representatives Committee to continue to work on the proposal in the light of the comments made by the delegations, and in parallel with the work on the draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified feed and food (debated at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 14 October).
The proposal aims to facilitate the targeted monitoring of the potential effects of GMOs and GMO products, the control and verification of statements on labels and the withdrawal of products where an unexpected risk to human health or the environment is detected. Labelling requirements are intended to be additional to those laid down in Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs and those provided for in the proposal for a Regulation on genetically modified food and feed.
The discussion was aimed, inter alia, at examining a number of outstanding issues concerning the communication of information on the potential presence of GMOs in products, the traceability of derived products and the threshold values for the adventitious presence of GMOs.
The President welcomed all the efforts made by delegations on this dossier. He recalled its importance not only in respect to consumer protection but also for the Union's external and trade policy.