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Parliament rips up Commission’s plans on seed rules

GUE/NGL MEPs have welcomed the European Parliament's almost unanimous rejection of Commission plans that sought to strengthen multinational corporations' control over the seed market.

Following the vote, Latvian MEP Alfreds Rubiks said: “There should be no restrictions on the use of seeds in agriculture, especially for SMEs and natural farms, as seeds are a genetic resource provide by nature itself.

“We need to strengthen the rights of farmers to use, exchange, and sell their seeds to protect them from genetic contamination and bio-piracy, and to provide full access to all freely reproducible seeds. We are against the widespread trade of patented and genetically-engineered seeds, and we reject the privatisation of market control for the sole benefit of multinationals. “

Irish MEP Martina Anderson commented: “Parliament has seen sense by rejecting this flawed proposal on plant reproductive material. This was a simple case of the Commission putting the needs of industry before farmers. If we go by the Commission's logic, established farming practices would fall into illegality.”

Anderson continued: “Seeds are without doubt a resource given by nature and there should be no attempt whatsoever to regulate their use in agriculture. Any attempt to do so especially in times of food insecurity is absolutely preposterous.”

The Commission's text sought to make it illegal to grow, reproduce, or trade any seed that has not been tested and approved by a new EU agency. To boot, they wanted to implement an annual fee to grow any seed on the list, which would have put severe financial strain on small farmers.

The draft included plans to merge 12 existing EU Directives into one directly applicable Regulation, which GUE/NGL MEPs warned would have severely limited member states' freedom to adapt the rules to their specific national contexts. The MEPs also expressed concern over such a high number of delegated acts which would have given the Commission excessive powers over markets they are far removed from.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group