Press release

One step closer to legal clarity in plant breeding

Our take on the CJEU Advocate General opinion

18 January 2018, Brussels. EuropaBio notes with interest the publication of the Advocate General of the EU’s Court of Justice non-binding opinion on organisms obtained by mutagenesis.  Published on the 18th January 2018, the opinion is an important step on the way to achieving needed clarity regarding the regulatory status of plants that have been developed using the latest methods of plant breeding.

The opinion in Case  C-528/16 follows a request for a preliminary ruling from the French Council of State on four issues regarding the legal status of targeted mutagenesis. A final decision of the Court is expected around mid-2018, and should provide increased legal certainty and predictability, after ten years of discussion in the EU.

Such opinions and decisions are helpful for clarifying the regulatory status of some products that have been developed using the latest biotechnological tools and applications. In addition, and as we have called for in our position paper on genome editing, the European Commission needs to create inclusive, fact-based platforms for dialogue, information sharing and trust building. These are twin essential components to enable society to benefit from innovative products by genome editing methods.

It is also worth noting that the European Commission’s Scientific Advisory Mechanism confirmed that “the precision and control (of applying new techniques in agricultural biotechnology such as genome editing) is greater than with the use of conventional breeding or established techniques of genetic modification”.

EuropaBio remains engaged with Member States and the European Commission in current and future initiatives in this area. For additional information, please consult: