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Council reaches political agreement on new rules for growing GMOs

Meeting in Luxembourg on 12 June, ministers in the Council adopted the political agreement text on the draft GMO directive and held policy debates on the 2030 framework and the clean air package

GMO cultivation

The draft directive on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) provides a legal basis for member states to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their territory for reasons other than health or environment considerations.

The proposal, presented by the Commission in July 2010, applies to GMOs that are authorised or under authorisation at EU level. Possible grounds that can be used by member states to ban or restrict GMOs include: socioeconomic reasons, land use and town planning, agricultural policy objectives and public policy issues.

The Council's political agreement draws a line under several years of negotiations on the draft directive and will allow for formal adoption of the Council's position at 1st reading. The incoming Italian presidency is then expected to start negotiations with the European Parliament in early autumn 2014.

2030 framework

The Council held a public policy debate on the 2030 framework for climate and energy policy. The debate was structured around 2 issues - the role of different economic sectors in cutting emissions, and the investment needed to implement the framework. The aim of the discussions was to help define aspects of the final package.

EU leaders will take stock of overall progress on the framework at the next European Council meeting on 26-27 June, with a final decision expected by October 2014.

Other topics on the agenda

The Council also held a public orientation debate on 2 elements of the clean air package: emissions from medium size combustion plants, and reduction of national emissions. Discussions focussed on the scope of the draft directives.

The Council adopted conclusions on the Convention on Biological Diversity to prepare for forthcoming meetings in South Korea in October 2014.

Ministers were also updated on the state of play of several legislative proposals, including:

  • the proposed regulation on monitoring and reporting of  CO2 emissions from maritime transport
  • the conclusion of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto protocol
  • the proposed directive to reduce the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags

The incoming Italian presidency of the Council also presented their environment work programme.

Video highlights

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