On 24 January, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted on the draft report on the proposal for a regulation on plants obtained through certain new genomic techniques (NGT), which included the submission of nearly 1200 proposals.

Here are the compromise amendments proposed by rapporteur Ms Jessica Polfjärd:

• A more restrictive definition of NGT1 in Annex 1 – These limitations seem reasonable and are not likely to slow down research and development of these technologies.

• In addition to the scientific criteria, NGT1s must not be intentionally resistant to herbicides and must meet at least one of the sustainability criteria listed in Annex III (yield, including yield stability and yield under low input conditions; tolerance/resistance to biotic stresses, including plant diseases caused by nematodes, fungi, bacteria, viruses and other pests); tolerance/resilience to abiotic stresses, including those created or exacerbated by climate change; more efficient use of resources, such as water and nutrients; characteristics that improve sustainability of storage, processing and distribution; improved quality or nutritional characteristics; reduced need for external inputs, such as plant protection products and fertilisers).

• The package proposed by the rapporteur included a ban on the patentability of NGTs, as well as a request to the Commission to carry out an impact study to better assess the issue.

• For organic farming, the ban on the use of NGTs was maintained, but with a tolerance for unintentional contamination and a request for a report to the Commission 7 years after entry into force to re-evaluate the ban.

During the ENVI Commission in favour that NGT1 should not be intentionally herbicide resistant and should meet the sustainability criteria outlined above.

The Commission also agreed that there should not be

– No patents for the time being;

– No NGTs for organic farming, a decision that will be reviewed in 7 years;

– No possibility for member states to prevent the cultivation or circulation of NGTs on the market.

AREV welcomes the fact that not all the amendments put forward by certain political groups with representation, which strongly limited GMOs, were adopted and trusts that the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) will continue this constructive approach, clearly differentiating between GMOs and NGTs 1.