Thank you very much for getting in touch with me about the EU Plant Reproductive Material Law and for your very useful comments. As you are aware, the European Commission wants to replace the twelve Directives currently in force with a Regulation on seeds and cuttings. I believe this is a threat to biodiversity and food production, as well as to gardeners small breeders. It is designed for the benefit of the multinational seed industry.
This proposal was made in May and it was debated in the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the European Parliament before Christmas – the lead committee on this issue. The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee also submitted an opinion on the proposal.
This is a brief update on developments. You will be pleased to hear that my parliamentary group, Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA), have put in amendments calling for the following:
- narrowing the scope so it does not include farmers and gardeners who exchange seeds for non-commercial use;
- for those varieties of seeds that have only a small market share to be exempt from any compulsory registration requirement. This would remove about 100 species from the regulation;
- to change the Distinctness from other exiting varieties, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) criteria that govern the EU's common catalogue so that they are compatible with organic, open pollinated and locally grown seeds;
- expand the 'Niche Market' exemption to include EU small farmers and small breeders;
- to change the proposed regulation into a directive that would allow more flexibility at a national level.
Over 1,300 amendments have been tabled. There will be a vote in the Environment Committee on the 30th of January and in the Agriculture Committee on the 18th of February. The majority of political groups reject the proposal for different reasons and are looking at the best way to proceed. The final votes will be in the full parliament plenary session in March or April.
Once again, I thank you for your comments and will keep you updated on developments. In the meantime you might want to sign the Global Citizens' Declaration for Seed Freedom and Food Democracy here -http://www.seedfreedom.eu/.
Jill Evans MEP