Korrespondenz - international

Open Letter to EU-Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: Plea for coherent decision-making in the EU



Dear President Juncker,

All institutions of the European Union should be measured by the way they comply with democratic and legal principles and follow the rules and regulations laid down by the Community itself, i.e., the Member States and the EU-Parliament.

This applies also to the forthcoming decision of the Commission on the approval for commercial cultivation of three genetically modified maize lines (1507, Bt11 and MON810). On 28 March 2017, the representatives of the 28 Member States did not come to an agreement on such approval. According to EU rules, this should lead to the following: The Commission must now take the decision to authorize commercial cultivation of the three maize lines, in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2001, Directive 2001/18/EC and Regulation (EC) 1829/2003. Additional justification for the Commission’s approval for cultivation of the above-mentioned three genetically modified maize lines is set forth below:


·      The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), responsible for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants has performed a risk assessment of the genetically modified plants. After thorough scientific examination, no risks for human health and to the environment have been identified.

·      The EU Commission is obliged to comply with its own regulations. According to the principle of supra-nationality within the European Union, the Member States are standing down from exercising their national sovereignty and jointly carrying it out on a European level. The directives and regulations adopted are obligatory for all.

In addition, the principle of legal compliance applies. To prevent arbitrariness the EU system can only work if all Member States adhere to the rules previously agreed by all.

·      Such a decision will send a strong signal to such individual Member States that prefer to transfer their responsibility to the EU Commission. In addition, it will respect the decision of the Member States who voted in favor of cultivation.

Those members of the EU who by their voting behavior repeatedly refuse to make clear and binding decisions – knowing that according to the legal regulations the EU Commission is subsequently obliged to make a decision – do not live up to the responsibility assigned to them. Instead, they actually make the procedure both time-consuming and cost-intensive by “hiding” instead of taking responsibility. Such practices, which meanwhile have unfortunately been established and are common regarding genetic modification and herbicides, not only diminish the confidence in the work of the European Union, but are also an expression of disregard for common democratic principles.


We therefore kindly ask you to act according to the democratic principles applicable to all EU members and take a timely decision to authorize the three genetically modified maize varieties.




Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Jany, Wissenschaftlerkreis Grüne Gentechnik e.V. (WGG)

Ricardo Serra Arias, President of ASAJA Andalucía

Philippe Dumont, Association Française des Biotechnologies Végétales

Pedro Barato Triguero President of ASAJA España

Prof. Hon. Emeritus Klaus Ammann, University of Bern, Switzerland

Prof. Erik Andreasson, Unit of Resistance Biology, Department of Plant Protection Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden

Eugénia de Andrade, PhD, Independent Researcher, Lisbon, Portugal

Prof. Geert Angenon, Laboratory of Plant Genetics, Faculty of Science and Bioengineering Sciences Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB),Belgium

Assoc. Prof. Bojin Bojinov, Head, Department of Genetics and Plant breeding, Agricultural University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Prof. Dr. Borut Bohanec, Head of Chair of Genetics, Biotechnology, Statistics and Plant Breeding at Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Jose Ignacio Cubero, Emeritus professor Plant Genetics and breeding, University of Cordoba

Sylvie De Buck, PhD, VIB-International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO), Belgium

John Davison, Research Director (retired), French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Versailles, France

Roberto Defez, Tenured staff scientist, IBBR, National Research Council Italy

Geert De Jaeger ,Associate Department Director, Functional Interactomics, VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Ghent University, Belgium

Dennis Eriksson, Researcher, Department of Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp, Sweden

Prof. G. Gheysen, Head Department Molecular Biotechnology, Faculty of BioScience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium

Prof. Jonathan Gressel, Plant & Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Nicolae Hristea, Agrobiotechrom, USAMV Bucharest, Romania

Dr Penny Hundleby, Senior Plant Scientist, UK

Drew L. Kershen, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA

Dr. Harry A. Kuiper, former chair of the EFSA GMO Panel, formerly RIKILT, Institute of Food Safety Wageningen University & Research Center, Wageningen, Netherlands

Prof. Alan McHughen, University of California, Riverside, Ca, USA

Dr. Piero Morandini, Assistant professor in Plant Physiology, Department of Biosciences, University of Milan,Italy

Prof. Reinhard Renneberg, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, SAR Hong Kong, China

Rodomiro Ortiz, PhD, Faculty Professor, Genetics & Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp, Sweden

Dr Agnès Ricroch , University of Paris Sud, President of the Life Sciences Section of the French Academy of Agriculture, France

Anneli Ritala-Nurmi, Principal Scientist, Project Manager, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Solutions for Natural Resources and Environment

Dr. Anne-Christine Ritschkoff, Executive Vice President, Strategic Research, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

Angelo Santino, Senior Scientist, ISPA, National Research Council Ital.

Giovanni Tagliabue, Independent researcher, Carugo (Como), Italia

Prof. Tomasz Twardowski, Head of Protein Biosynthesis Department, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań, Poland

Tomas Vanek, PhD Head of Laboratory of Plant Biotechnologies of Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, Prague, Czech Republic

Prof. Nathalie Verbruggen, Interfaculty School of Bioengineering, Free University of Brussels (ULB)

Prof. Li-Hua Zhu, Department of Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden


Response of Vytenis Andriukaites, EU-Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, to the open letter to EU-Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker – July-17-2017.

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