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European Commission - Press release

Protection of biodiversity: Commission refers Poland to Court for not respecting the EU rules on conservation varieties of vegetable seeds

BRUSSELS, 26 January 2012 – Today the European Commission decided to refer Poland to the European Court of Justice for failing to protect biodiversity and conserve "old" vegetable seed varieties. The Directive 2009/145/EC, on conservation varieties of vegetable seeds, requires introducing more simplified marketing requirements, than those used for vegetable seeds cultivated for intensive agricultural production. Poland did not adequately transpose the text and has thus failed to fulfil its obligations under the EU law.

Biodiversity and the conservation of vegetable seed varieties which have been traditionally grown in specific regions are threatened by genetic erosion.

Consequently, the Directive on conservation varieties of vegetable seed aimed at providing a simplified mechanism which allows for a more flexible system on the testing, inspection, and registration of vegetable seed varieties that are not intended for the mass commercial market.

Protection and conservation of EU regions' rich biodiversity is of great importance, as well as the protection of EU's species from extinction. It's vital to ensure that vegetable seed varieties are used and conserved for the future generations. Protecting this heritage means also respecting the traditional regional farming methods which are usually not required for commercial crop production and, in turn, enhances consumer choice as the range of good quality products to choose from, is increased.

Failure by Poland to transpose the Directive means that these "old" vegetable seed varieties will not be subject to the simplified marketing procedures and will not be marketed and sold in Poland.

Member States were required to implement this Directive by 31 December 2010. In June 2011 the Commission had formally requested Poland, by reasoned opinion, to fully comply with the EU requirements (see IP/11/707) but Poland failed to do so. Thus, the European Commission has decided to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

For more information on the Conservation varieties, please visit:

For more information on the infringement procedure, please visit:


Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

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