European Court of Justice confirms farmers right to cultivate GM crops


Coexistence rules are not mandatory for growing GM crops in the EU Members States, states the ECJ


LUXEMBOURG, September 6th 2012 – Today’s decision of the European Court of Justice clarifies the legal requirements for the cultivation of GM crops in the European Union Member States. The decision confirms the non-legitimacy of national authorizations introduced in addition to the approval of biotech crops established by the European legal framework, and it also confirms that coexistence measures are not mandatory to grow GM plants.

“DuPont Pioneer welcomes and is really satisfied with today’s decision of the European Court of Justice,” says Paolo Marchesini, DuPont Pioneer Government, Public and Regulatory Affairs Manager, Southern Europe, “since it confirms the position and reasoning our Company has been supporting for many years concerning the cultivation of GM crops in Europe,” he continued. “Concerning our GM crops’ cultivation experience in other countries, we have always been operating in full compliance with our strict internal and internationally accepted product stewardship standards in order to prevent cross pollination,” he concluded.

The decision of the European Court of Justice follows a formal request submitted by Italy’s State Council in the frame of a legal case initiated by Pioneer Hi-Bred Italia srl versus the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, who had often refused to grant authorization to cultivate GM seed products in the country. The reason for these denials, according to the Ministry, was the absence of official national coexistence guidelines.

“DuPont Pioneer is now waiting for the final decision of Italy’s State Council on the pending legal case versus the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Paolo Marchesini. “We hope the current ban on cultivation, denying Italian farmers the free choice to grow GM or conventional crops, as allowed by the EU legislation, is going to be removed soon” (Dir 90/220/EU in accordance with Reg (EC) No 1829/2003 and Dir 2001/18/EC).

GM maize delivers benefits in terms of quality and safety of production, but also in terms of increased environmental sustainability, thanks to its resistance to the European Corn Borer, the most harmful maize pest. In Italy, adoption of GM maize is expected to bring an increased maize production from 40,6 million Euros to 108,2 million Euros, depending to the level of the pest pressure and damages (1). GM maize is also helpful to mitigate the current drought emergency that is lowering yields and increasing the price of cereals. Food insecurity could also have a negative impact on the economic crisis affecting Italy that is nowadays importing about one fifth of domestic maize demand.


Source: Pioneer