Présidence espagnole du Conseil de l’UE, réunion informelle des ministres de l’agriculture, 5 septembre 2023 – Communiqué « EU ministers discuss how to apply new technologies for a more sustainable agriculture »

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

L’Espagne, qui a pris la présidence du Conseil de l’UE au 1er juillet 2023 pour six mois a organisé le 5 septembre 2023 une réunion informelle des ministres de l’agriculture de l’UE à Cordoue. Les discussions portaient sur l’usage des nouvelles technologies en agriculture, en particulier les « nouvelles techniques génomique ». La présidence espagnole a en effet d’ors et déjà annoncé que l’adoption du texte sur les NGT présenté en juillet par la Commission faisait partie de ses priorités.

Extraits :

« The informal meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Cordoba focused on the use of new technologies to advance food security, combat climate change and achieve agricultural sector profitability.

The meeting, held as part of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU in the Palacio de Congresos of the Andalusian city, was chaired by Spain’s acting Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Luis Planas, and was attended by the European Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski.

EU industry leaders presented their ideas and proposals on which techniques and solutions they consider most effective and preferential in the fight against climate change, and for better food production.

“We will certainly refer to the Cordoba debate as a turning point,” Planas said after the meeting.

He stressed that “the supply of safe, nutritious food of sufficient quality and quantity is a global challenge for the whole planet” because, according to UN forecasts, the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. (…)

Developments in New Genomic Techniques

However, the key topic in this regard discussed during the informal ministerial meeting was new genomic techniques (NTG), which make it possible to breed more resilient and resistant plant varieties quickly and with greater precision.

“Highlighted during the debate was the potential of new genomic techniques applied to the breeding of new plant varieties to meet the challenge of food production sustainability, and in particular, to tackle the challenge of climate change and the need to reduce the use of plant protection products and fertilisers,” the Spanish minister added.

« New genome editing techniques are being supported, but with a responsible approach » (Janusz Wojciechowski European Agriculture Commissioner)

On 5 July, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on this issue.

European decision-makers have now had the chance to express their concerns, doubts and worries as part of a transparent debate to guarantee a production of both seeds and plants for food production in sufficient quantities. This is all without harming the environment and guaranteeing the future of the sector.

Ministers also emphasised their interest in ensuring transparency and information for consumers to achieve more sustainable technological solutions.

Commissioner Wojciechowski said he was “very satisfied” with the debate on the issue. “New genome editing techniques are being supported, but with a responsible approach,” said the EU official, who stressed the importance of “avoiding negative consequences” that could affect, for example, farmers using organic production methods.

The objective of the Spanish presidency is to reach some initial political conclusions on NTGs before the six-month period ends. In this regard, it has made a commitment to work intensively on the Commission’s proposal on plants obtained through these techniques. (…) »

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