Correspondence with Ministers November 2007 to April 2008 - European Union Committee Contents


Letter from Phil Woolas MP, Minister for the Environment, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to the Chairman

  I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the European Parliament's first reading of this draft Directive which took place on 12-15 November. This is in advance of the Presidency seeking political agreement at Council.

Eight amendments were originally proposed by the EP Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The majority of these amendments were outwith the scope of Commission Decision 2006/512 which provides for the "regulatory procedure with scrutiny" to be applied to the non-essential elements of a basic instrument. In order to reach an agreement on this dossier at first reading a number of informal contacts were made between the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission as a result of which nine compromise amendments were made. These amendments do only apply the new procedure to the non-essential elements. The Plenary therefore adopted the nine compromise amendments and none of the Committee's original amendments.

  The key amendments are:

    — A requirement to apply the regulatory procedure with scrutiny to the setting of threshold levels for the technically unavoidable presence of authorised GMOs in products intended for direct processing. This amendment is consistent with requirement for the setting of labelling thresholds in the proposed Directive.

    — A requirement to amend the Safeguard Article of Directive 2001/18/EC to make it clear that it only applies to the Member State notifying the safeguard action. This amendment does not require the regulatory committee with scrutiny procedures to be applied to safeguard actions as that would be outwith the requirements of Commission Decision 2006/512/EC which relate to involving the European Parliament on amendments to the technical requirements of the Directive only.

    — A requirement to apply the new procedures to the conditions for implementing the labelling of genetically modified organisms in contained use.

  The amendments adopted correspond to what was agreed between the three institutions and ought therefore to be acceptable to the Council. As the amendments are of a technical nature which only concern the committee procedures, they do not need to be transposed by the Member States.

19 December 2007

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