Biotechnology Law (2006): Current Survey of Substantive EU Environmental Law
THE YEARBOOK OF EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, VOLUME 8, pp. 364-402, T.F.M. Etty & H. Somsen, eds., Oxford University Press, 2008
40 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2010
Date Written: February 1, 2007
Overview of recent (EU and international) legal and political developments in the regulatory field of agricultural biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and GM food governance. Year under review: 2006.
Introduction: The survey year 2006 was one of mixed accomplishments in the policy area of ‘green’ biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). On the European Union (EU) front, last year’s trend of a slow but steady pace was continued, with mainly small amendments and implementing measures being adopted, following what has been an exceptionally dynamic few years in terms of European biotechnology decision-making. While the de facto moratorium on GMO authorizations has formally moved to the annals of history, its shadow is proving to be long and looming. the deep divide between the Member States is still far from bridged, and the Commission’s unilateral approval of (few) new GMOs that may subsequently be barred through Member State precautionary safeguard bans has done little to resolve the contested European hostility towards GM crops. In fact, those safeguard bans have proven to be the only type of biotech-related policy issues for which the Member States are able to unite in qualified majority decision-making at all, illustrating the highly politicized issue that GMO comitology decision-making remains.
Further noteworthy developments in the international realm took place predominantly in the context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (BSP), and its parent Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The highly controversial international labelling and documentation requirements for GMOs were finally concluded under the BSP, or at least provisionally, while the CBD Parties agreed on a continuation of the moratorium on Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs), and on the need for a precautionary approach to GM applications to forestry.
Keywords: GMO, biotechnology, GM food, coexistence, risk regulation, environmental liability, EU law, EC environmental law, Cartagena Biosafety Protocol, labelling, contained use, case law, life sciences, WTO, trade, GM trees, climate change, Kyoto, European environmental policy, Precautionary principle
JEL Classification: K32, K33, K39, K23, K10, K13, K19, K00, O13, Q17, Q18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation