[REPONSE]Parlement européen, Question écrite E-002850-19 de Kris Peeters (PPE) du 18 septembre 2019, Nouvelles initiatives concernant CRISPR-Cas

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

Texte de la question :

« European agriculture faces major sustainability challenges. Crops that require less input, that are more resilient to drought and/or that produce higher yields can make an important contribution in this respect.

Precision plant-breeding techniques such as CRISPR-Cas can help develop such crops in a much more targeted and faster manner.

In Europe, however, the development and use of such crops is blocked by the application of stringent GMO legislation. The Court of Justice ruled in Case C‐528/16 that directive 2001/18 on GMOs is applicable to CRISPR-Cas. As a result, the European plant-breeding sector is deprived of important tools.

In the rest of the world, such crops are treated like conventional crops and operators are allowed to place them on the market without hindrance. This gives them a great advantage.

The problem in Europe is compounded by the fact that products resulting from precision plant-breeding techniques such as these cannot be detected and products from elsewhere can thus enter the European market undetected.

What initiatives does the European Commission intend to take in order to bring GMO legislation into line with the legislation in the rest of the world, thereby enabling the development and use of such crops? »

Réponse donnée par Mr Andriukaitison au nom de la Commission européenne le 7 novembre 2019

« Products placed on the EU market, whether imported or produced in the EU, have to fulfil the requirements of the EU legislation. The burden of proof is on economic operators both within and outside the EU territory, including verification that unauthorised genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not placed on the market and that traceability and labelling rules for authorised GMOs (as set by the EU legislation (1)) are fulfilled.

The Commission services have been discussing the implementation of the Court ruling on Case C-528/16 (2) on mutagenesis with the Member States experts in several Standing Committee meetings. The Commission invited Member States to submit information on the challenges that they are facing in implementing and enforcing the GMO legislation as the Court has interpreted it.

To support Member States, their official control laboratories and operators, the Commission requested the European Union Reference Laboratory for Genetically Modified Food and Feed and the European Network of GMO laboratories to elaborate a report on possibilities and limitations regarding the detection of food or feed obtained by new mutagenesis techniques. The report was published on 26 March 2019 (3) and acknowledges challenges to develop detection methods for certain plants produced with some precision plant breeding techniques.The Commission would like to clarify that there are no plans to put forward new legislative proposals concerning the legislation on GMOs under the current College of Commissioners »

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