Three proposals to ensure that the EU does not miss out on the opportunities offered by plant genome editing

Press releases

Press Release
Frankfurt am Main and Paris, 20 July 2018

Oversixty organizations and scientific leaders address an open letter to Jean-Claude Juncker

Oversixty organizations (public and private research centers, universities, academies, technical institutes, professional agricultural organizations) and scientific leaders from different European Union countriesand Switzerland(1)have come together as a group called « European Initiative for plant genome editing ».

The signatories of the Initiativeaddress an open letter to President Jean-Claude Juncker, as well as to the four Commissioners concerned, to stress that the European Union must not miss out on the opportunities offered by genomic editing of plants. For the members of the Initiative, the innovations allowed by these technologies will beessential to enable European researchers and farmers to work with the best tools available and to avoid distortions of competition with the major agricultural countries that have already committed to them.

To this end, the group is proposing to the European Commission three proposals for rapid action to enable Europe to return to the forefront of innovation in the field of plant breeding, in the interest of consumers, farmers, industry and the environment:

  • to adopt a coherent interpretation of the definition of a GMO under the EU Directive 2001/18 / ECand accordingly enable exclusion or exemptionfrom the Directive of certain categories of plants: nullsegregants, plants containing a cisgene and certain other plants derived from genome editing,
  • to designate an EU authority to confirm the exclusion or exemption from EU Directive 2001/18 / ECof the above-mentioned categories of plants,
  • to initiate discussions with countries exporting and importing agricultural products to harmonize the regulatory status of plants derived from genome editing.

Only by allowing European private and public researchersto become major players in plant genomic publishing will the EU find its place in this “new era”of biotechnology for agriculture and agroecology.

(1) Germany, Austria France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Finland, Poland, Rumania, Switzerland

Beginning on Friday July 20the list of signatures will be periodically updated on the following sites :

WGG : http://www.wgg-ev.deund

Press Contact :
: Gil Kressmann – ;
WGG : Prof.Dr. Klaus-Dieter Jany –