Quick Update on EU Seed Legislation (Update 6 Feb)
There’s not much news, but I did get a reply to my letter to the EU commission that I mentioned here.
The long and short is that the final draft is expected the end of 1st quarter 2013, which says to me they’ll miss the 2013 planting season. This means any changes aren’t likely to be felt until 2014 at the earliest. It’s also always possible they won’t meet their self imposed deadline, and might still be escalated within the Commission.
The reply I got from the commission did mention many major points in my letter, which suggests they are thinking about them. I talked with some others who sent similar letters as mine, and it seems we all got word for word identical replies. Probably all NGOs who wrote letters got the same reply.
What I hear via-via is that while DG SANCO is proposing the new regulation, DG AGRI opposed their final draft. This means the legislation needs to go to the College of Commissioners to resolve the differences. DG AGRI seems to be mostly on ‘our’ side, but it remains very unclear what any sort of compromise will look like.
If you notice something on the Commission website, or anywhere else, please let me know!
Further update 6 February:
I have now heard DG ENVI has also objected to the draft regulation.
DG ENVI in particular is trying to exclude open pollinated seeds, for individuals and farmers’ networks, from the scope of the regulation. DG AGRI is opposing the proposed regulation on a number of grounds, in particular to exclude networks of farmers and seed savers as well as making it easier to register varieties. In general, it sounds like DG AGRI is working on a number of the points in my letter linked to above.
DG SANCO and DG AGRI in particular are reported to be strongly at odds, and the matter is expected to be escalated to the Commissioners’ level, causing possible further delays.
The ESA (Seed Industry) is reported to be intensively lobbying for the draft regulation to be passed unchanged.
If you hear anything else, please let me know!