Plant Reproductive Materials – update 26th March 2014

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The European Council* has considered its options following European Parliament’s* rejection of the Commission’s* proposals for a new regulation for plant reproductive material. It agreed in Coreper (Committee of Permanent Representatives) on 26 March 2014 to continue its discussion, but with the Commission producing a revised proposal to reflect Member States’ discussion in Council Working Party and amendments tabled by European Parliament. At its next meeting on 12 May, Council Working Party will discuss the changes it expects to see in revised proposals.

The way European Parliament rejected the Commission’s proposals shows very significant concerns and tension between European Parliament and the Commission. This implies that Parliament may also reject proposals at its second reading unless radical changes are made. Therefore, in developing  objectives for the next stage of discussion in Council Working Party, account must be taken of the European Parliament’s concerns in addition to the UK’s own objectives.

The hope is that the UK will be able to focus on the issues that are considered to be important:

  • Simplification of the regulation as regards the PRM sold to gardeners, ensuring that they are not included in/covered by Annex 1.
  • Selling of ornamentals under a variety name (Art. 50, in effect), to ensure the traceability proposal is included.
  • Agricultural seed
  • A revised definition of plant propagating material.
  • Redefinition of who can conserve plants, and what can be conserved

Conservation-relevant excerpts from original document:

 Explanatory Memorandum 3.1
In addition, it should not apply to material intended to or maintained in gene banks, organisations and networks of ex-situ and in-situ or on farm conservation of genetic resources following national strategies on conservation of genetic resources.

 Recital 7
Given the needs of producers and the requirements for flexibility and proportionality,this Regulation should not apply to reproductive material intended solely for testing,scientific and breeding purposes, to gene banks, organisations and networks devoted to the exchange and conservation of genetic resources (including on-farm conservation), or to reproductive material exchanged in kind between persons other than professional operators

*The European Council defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union.
The European Parliament is the only directly-elected body of the European Union. The 766 Members are there to represent the citizen. They are elected once every five years by voters right across the 28 Member States of the European Union on behalf of its 500 million citizens.
The European Commission represents the interests of the EU as a whole. It proposes new legislation to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and it ensures that EU law is correctly applied by member countries.

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