I am glad to announce that yesterday evening the European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional political agreement on the draft legislation on GMO cultivation. The proposal, still subject to confirmation by Coreper and by the plenary of the European Parliament, will give Member States the possibility to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their territory, without affecting the EU risk assessment.
The agreement, if confirmed, would meet Member States' consistent calls since 2009, to have the final say on whether or not GMOs can be cultivated on their territory, in order to better take into account their national context and, above all, the views of their citizens. The text agreed is in line with President Juncker commitment, as reflected in his Political Guidelines, to give the democratically elected governments at least the same weight as scientific advice when it comes to important decisions concerning food and environment.
I wish to thank the Members of the European Parliament, and more particularly Ms Frédérique Ries as rapporteur for the file, and the Council, steered by the Italian Presidency who could work on a good basis built by previous presidencies, notably the Danish and Greek one. They succeeded to move beyond their divergences and make a significant step forward, after 4 years of intense debates on this issue.
I fully trust that this agreement in principle will be formally endorsed in the coming weeks by the European Parliament and the Council, allowing the Member States to start exercising their extended capacities to decide on GMO cultivation as from spring 2015.