Plant Reproductive Material Proposals Rejected

4th Mar 2014

The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has voted against controversial proposed EU legislation on plant reproductive material (PRM).

MEPs rejected the European Commission’s planned seed regulation by 37 votes to two due to fears that it would hand the Commission too much power and that individual countries would be given no room to adapt the rules to meet their needs.

Agriculture Committee Chair Paolo De Castro commented: “We are worried that merging 12 directives into one directly applicable regulation would offer member states no room for manoeuvre to adapt the proposed rules to their needs, while the high number of delegated acts would give the Commission excessively wide powers, especially over heterogeneous material and niche markets.”

The proposed legislation had caused widespread concern amongst industry bodies in the UK, including Plant Heritage and the Royal Horticultural Society, as it would require all plant varieties to be listed on an official register, a move that would arguably threaten the future of many smaller nurseries and National Collection Holders.

Of the 52,000 plants currently listed on the RHS’s ‘Plant Finder’ database, only 2,000 would have an officially-registered description that would satisfy the criteria of the proposals.

After its rejection in the Agriculture Committee, the plans will be scrutinised by the European Parliament as a whole at one of its forthcoming plenary sessions.


Plant Import Rules To Be Tightened?

In related news, the Agriculture Committee also vowed to tighten rules on importing plants into the EU to minimise the risk of pests and diseases. MEPs are keen to establish a ‘positive list of countries and products that do not pose an unacceptable danger’, while non-EU countries wishing to export plants will be subject to strict tests, such as on-the-spot audits, by the European Commission.

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