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EU seed legislation

Flawed seed law nipped in the bud, as MEPs vote to reject proposal


The European Parliament today voted to reject draft EU legislation on seeds and seed marketing. The Greens have been pushing for the controversial proposal from the European Commission to be rejected and welcomed the clear outcome (1), which puts pressure on the Commission to withdraw its proposal. After the vote, Green agriculture spokesperson Martin Häusling stating:

"The European Parliament has today voted send the Commission back to the drawing board in rejecting this flawed legislative proposal on seeds. MEPs have put the interests of farmers, long term food security and agro-biodiversity first and ensured this potentially disastrous proposal from the Commission was nipped in the bud. 

"The Commission’s one-size-fits-all approach would have seriously restricted the freedom of operators working in specific sectors, hitting small-scale seed breeders. The slate now needs to be wiped clean: only seeds produced and sold for commercial use should be covered by any future legislation and this implies a narrower scope than what is now on the table. Most importantly, the legislation needs to truly accommodate high-diversity seeds, like wind-pollinated and heterogeneous varieties and other locally-adapted seeds.  

“The global and European decline in genetic diversity in crops is totally at odds with long-term food security. European seed legislation has not helped in this regard and we need a new approach. We need rules that promote a broad range of genetic diversity in our crop populations to enable us to adapt to the tougher environmental conditions that climate change is already bringing. Leaving the seed market in the control of a handful of multinational agro-chemical corporations, which design seeds to be tailor-made for use with their own agro-chemicals (2), is not the right approach. EU seed policies must be based on the principle of diversity, not corporate uniformity and agro-chemical inputs. We hope the Commission will come forward with new legislation to reflect this."  

(1) The European Parliament confirmed its rejection by voting in favour of the legislative resolution, which exerts more pressure on the Commission to withdraw the proposal.

(2) See the study on seed market concentration, commissioned by the Greens/EFA group: http://www.greens-efa.eu/seed-market-regulation-11542.html