Statement / Press release on the voting of the ENVI Committee on the Commission proposal to regulate genome edited plants (NGT plants)

Karlsruhe, Paris, 25.01.2024

EU Environment Committee votes in favour of an evidence-based regulation of plants derived from new genomic techniques

At its meeting on 24 January 2024, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) voted in favour of evidence-based regulation of plants derived from new genomic techniques by a clear majority of 47 to 31 with 4 abstentions. This decision further paves the way for the implementation of the Commission’s proposal. However, all the obstacles have not yet been overcome. The decisive factor will now be the vote in the EU Parliament and the decision in the Council of Ministers so that negotiations between the Parliament, member states and the Commission (trilogue procedure) can begin.

Obviously, most parliamentarians followed the arguments from the scientific community and were less influenced by those of fundamental critics of genetic engineering or organic organisations. They may also have been surprised at the intensity with which scientists have argued in favour of a science-based implementation of a regulation for plants bred using new genomic techniques (NGT). For the first time, science has raised its voice and campaigned for the preservation of Europe as a centre of science in plant breeding.

The parliamentarians agreed to the introduction of two categories of NGT plants and followed the Commission’s proposal that NGT-1 plants should be regarded as equivalent to conventionally bred plants. NGT-2 plants, however, are to be largely regulated under existing genetic engineering legislation. 

As it stands today, with the approval of the category of NGT-1 plants that actually fulfil the criteria in Annex 1, these plants are removed from the restrictive requirements of existing genetic engineering law. This means that they are no longer subject to GMO-specific labelling and traceability or comprehensive risk assessment. However, NGT-1 plants are not placed on the market uncontrolled; they are subject to the provisions of seed law on the one hand and a notification procedure on the other. This notification procedure provides for a type of risk assessment and the creation of a register for NGT-1 plants. With the entry in the register, an identity number is also issued for this NGT-1 plant. This will create transparency for consumers and users. To protect GMO-free agriculture, NGT-1 seeds must always be labelled. Coexistence between the different forms of cultivation and farming is therefore possible. The use of genetically modified plants in organic farming will continue to be excluded and as mentioned in the ENVI and AGRI Committee amendments, it is proposed that NGT-1 plants will not be patentable.

The Wissenschaftskreis Genomik und Gentechnik (WGG) and the Association Française des Biotechnologies Végétales (AFBV) welcome the decision of the EU Environment Committee. They are convinced that this is a step in the right direction for more sustainable agriculture and food production. Results from European research institutions on applications of the new genomic techniques will thus also be translated into practical applications at European level and will no longer be exported abroad.

An open letter from AFBV, EU-SAGE, WGG to the members of the EU Environment Committee is available here:


WGG: Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Jany: tel: +49 171 42 32 957  –   mail: jany@wgg-ev-de

AFBV: Gil Kressmann: tel: +33 6 83 46 55 33  –  mail:



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