Seed World

Broad Support for Plant Breeding Innovation at Council and EP

In view of the discussions of 11 December in both, the Agri-Fish Council and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) of the European Parliament, Euroseeds welcomes the broad support for seed innovation expressed by co-legislators for the Commission’s legislative proposal on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs). These advanced breeding methods hold an immense potential for driving EU’s leadership towards sustainable and resilient European agriculture and food production as well as Europe’s competitiveness and growth. Unlocking this potential by a suitable and enabling authorisation system is a precondition for Europe’s public and private research to make the respective investments in Europe and for Europe.

On the developments within the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, Euroseeds Secretary General, Garlich von Essen remarked: “Euroseeds very much welcomes the positive recognition of the need for innovation and modernized rules supporting it as expressed by a clear majority of Members States. While some work still needs to be done and some difficult subjects remain, we are confident that the Council can arrive at a broadly supported common view in the coming weeks.”

This interpretation is also supported by the respective vote of the European Parliament’s COMAGRI of the same day which confirmed the broad support of MEPs across political groups and delegations for an enabling legislation on NGTs in Europe, as von Essen points out: “This COMAGRI vote sends a strong message to the entire European Parliament and to Ministers in the Council. This is a key file for the future of Europe’s breeders, farmers and a sustainable agri-food chain. Let’s keep working hard and let us reach a general approach as soon as possible.”

In both, Council and EP, questions about the scope and potential effect of intellectual property protection around NGTs play a major role. Euroseeds fully recognizes the importance of this aspect and therefore strongly supports the announced respective study by the Commission. “Any legislative or other initiative in this area must bring legal certainty to all stakeholders and therefore should follow due process and be based on the proper dedicated legal framework rather than be part of these marketing authorization rules. We therefore consider such a study as the most suitable starting point for a thorough and informed discussion how to best achieve the desired balance in supporting innovators, safeguarding access to innovation, and broad societal benefit”,  von Essen concluded.

Source: Euroseeds