The New Strategy on Coexistence in the 2010 European Commission Recommendation

The European Union tried to establish a “coexistence” policy for the cultivation and processing of GM and non-GM products after the political agreement that put an end to the 1999-2004 moratorium. Consequently, coexistence is part of this gentlemen’s agreement between States with pro and anti-GMO positions.

Anti-GMO States unblocked proceedings of authorisation of new products by accepting the sound science criteria of the risk assessments of the EFSA as almost the only element to open the doors of the internal market. In exchange, these States got the opportunity to decide on how GMO would be cultivated in their jurisdiction, mainly under the pretext of guaranteeing the isolation of  the three chains in “coexistence”. As this article will demonstrate, this basic agreement has not changed. According to the rather soft-law attempt of harmonization of the 2003 Recommendation of the European Commission, “coexistence refers to the ability of farmers to make a practical choice between conventional, organic and GM-crop production, in compliance with the legal obligations for labelling and/or purity standards”. That is to say, Member States could set up binding and/or non-binding good practices of isolation in order to guarantee farmers’ right of choice and compliance with [European] labelling and traceability standards (the 0.9 % threshold). Moreover, in some cases, Member States established specific liability rules to compensate for economic loss in case an “adventitious mixture” could not be avoided. This was a project of “pluralisme technologique” that aimed at avoiding a rapid technological  substitution of conventional crops by GM ones, and at guaranteeing the survival of organic production that had renounced biotechnological tools.



Copyright: © Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
Source: Issue 04/2010 (Dezember 2010)
Pages: 6
Price: € 41,65
Autor: Dr. Justo Corti Varela

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