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Advisory report 32: EU draft regulation - New gene editing techniques

4 October 2023

An adjustment of GMO regulation is urgently needed, according to VARIO. The council therefore welcomes any improvement to the current framework, calling for maximum legal certainty and future-proofness.

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The VARIO advisory report concerns the EU proposal for a regulation for plants that have been modified with new gene editing techniques and food and feed produced from them, which the European Commission launched on July 5, 2023. The draft regulation proposes a relaxation of the strict EU regulations regarding GMOs, specifically with regard to New Genomic Technologies (NGTs).

The minister asked VARIO to respond to the following two questions:

  • What is VARIO's reading of the European Commission's proposal?
  • What is the view of VARIO and its stakeholders regarding the European Commission's proposal?

VARIO first provides an extensive explanation of the context and a number of concepts. The VARIO reading and an analysis of the draft regulation are then discussed, before the following recommendations are made:

  • An amendment to the GMO regulations is urgently needed. VARIO welcomes any improvement to the current framework and can agree with the current draft regulation;
  • VARIO encourages the legislator to take new regulations to a higher level in the future and to apply the innovation principle, which makes legislation future-proof and guarantees legal certainty;
  • With a view to ensure maximum legal certainty, the adoption of the current draft regulation requires a preliminary thorough revision of Annex 1.

With its recommendations, VARIO hopes to contribute to the development of a supported Flemish and Belgian position.