On 22 October, the Commission informed Member States that new rules will apply to the voting procedure on its controversial draft Directive on labelling thresholds for GMOs in conventional seeds.
The Commission on 22 October informed Member States that it had changed the legal basis for the adoption of the directive, which will put back the timeframe.
Initially, the Standing Committee on Seeds was to decide on the Directive under the comitology procedure, a technical procedure that would have required a qualified majority to vote against it for it ot be rejected. The decision to use this procedure had come under attack from some Member States, notably Germany and Italy, the Parliament’s legal service and environmental interest groups.
The Commission has now announced that the seeds’ purity thresholds will be first adopted under the Directive 2001/18 on the release of GMOs into the environment. For this to happen, a Commission proposal will have to be accepted by qualified majority by the Member States in the framework of a Regulatory Committee established to supervise the Directive, which will look into the environmental and health aspects. The thresholds agreed will then also be included in the Seeds Directives of the EU.
As the reason behind this apparent U-turn, the Commission stated the need to ensure that both the seeds’ laws and environment law should be used to set thresholds in order to avoid inconsistencies.