EU Commission NGT proposal triggers positive discussions in a collaborative atmosphere at a Euractiv panel

October 26, 2023

European seed sector


Plant breeding innovation

The European Commission’s proposal for NGTs has ignited a spectrum of discussions surrounding the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. In this regard, Euractiv recently hosted a panel featuring key representatives from the European Commission and various EU stakeholders, including Euroseeds Secretary General Garlich von Essen, shedding light on potential policy advancements for the uptake of NGTs in Europe.

Since the proposal’s unveiling on July 5th, 2023, interest in NGTs has more and more surged, engaging scientists, plant breeders, farmers, as well as EU policymakers and third-country representatives. The current formulation of the proposal distinguishes between two NGT-derived plant categories: Category 1 would follow conventional breeding regulations, while Category 2 would fall under GMO regulatory oversight.

During the “New Genomic Techniques – What Lies Ahead?” event, panelists emphasized alignment between the scientific and farming communities regarding agricultural innovation through NGTs. Among them, Acting Director at DG SANTE, Klaus Berend, Euroseeds’ Garlich von Essen, Copa-Cogeca’s Thor Gunnar Kofoed, and Alliance for Science’s Dr. Sheila Ochugboju discussed NGTs’ potential in advancing the EU’s Green Deal goals, offering more resilient crops and economic returns for farmers.

Euroseeds’ Garlich von Essen stressed a broad consensus on NGTs’ potential for sustainable agriculture and the absence of environmental and consumer risks. Thor Kofoed highlighted the critical role of improved seed varieties in supporting the transition towards reduced crop protection product use.

All panelists emphasized the urgency to conclude discussions at the Parliament and Council levels promptly, ideally before the current mandate expires.