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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Committee on Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Seeds and Plants

Short report of the meeting of the Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating Material for Agriculture; Horticulture and Forestry held on 26 November 1999

Chairman: Mr. Del Bino (for item 1)

Mr. Obst (for item 3.4)

Mr. Valvassori (for the other items)

All member States present, except Luxembourg and (for item 1) Finland. For the purpose of the vote Luxembourg mandated Belgium and Finland mandated Sweden.

The Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) and Norway participated as observers.

1. Draft Commission Decision authorising the Member States to permit temporarily the marketing of vine propagating material not satisfying the requirements of Council Directive 68/193/EEC

This decision would allow for a limited period the marketing of vine propagating material meeting less stringent requirements, in order to overcome difficulties in supply experienced in France. The material will be imported from Switzerland in form of dormant buds to be used for grafting in France. The rooted grafts, once produced, will then be reexported into Switzerland.

This authorization would be effective only in conjunction with a phytosanitary authorization required under the Community Plant Health Regime (Council Directive 77/93/EEC).

Voting: 77 for and 10 abstentions.

2. Continued discussion on a possible amendment of Council Directive 66/401/EEC (seeds of fodder plants) in respect of the requirements on Avena fatua

Postponed.

3. Common catalogues of varieties

3.1. Accelerated inscription into the common catalogue of additional varieties of agricultural plant species (varieties notified to the Commission between 1 October and 22 November 1999)

The Committee noted a list of 44 varieties eligible for listing in the Common Catalogue of Agricultural Plant Species.

As a point of information the Member States were asked if all the varieties subject to accelerated inscription to the Common Catalogue included any GMO variety. The delegations stated that, to the best of their knowledge, they did not.

A delegation expressed doubts on possible impediments for the designation of the variety denomination "TENOR" for a swede rape.

The Standing Committee noted that, pursuant to Article 15 (4) of Council Directive 70/457/EEC, the delegations of all Member States stated or notified that their respective countries did not intend to lodge any application under the procedure laid down in Article 15 (2) of that Directive in respect of the remaining 43 varieties, which were accepted in the other Member States and for which the communications provided for in Article 10(1) and (3) of the said Directive were made.

3.2. Working programme of supplements to the last complete edition of the common catalogues of varieties

Postponed.

However the Committee noted:

- the first supplement to the 21 st complete edition of the Common catalogue of varieties of vegetable species, OJ C 313 A, 30 October 1999,

- the 21 st complete edition of the Common catalogue of varieties of agricultural plant species, OJ C 321 A, 9 November 1999,

- the draft second complement to the 21 st complete edition of the Common catalogue of varieties of vegetable species. (The Commission services recalled that the preparatory work was carried out in cooperation with NAKG, NL. Furthermore they undertook to provide, as a matter of urgency, for a corrigendum in the case of varieties wrongly omitted or wrongly included in the last edition of the Common Catalogue. In the case of the varieties wrongly included the Committee noted that GMO varieties should have met the requirements of Council Directive 90/220/EEC (GMOs) and Regulation (EC) N° 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council (novel foods) and that in the absence of the relevant authorisations, seed of these varieties could not be placed on the market in any Member States and the varieties should not have been accepted for inclusion in any official catalogue.)

3.3. Interchange of data between administrations (IDA)

Postponed.

3.4. Continued discussion on implementing measures as to the suitability of denominations of varieties.

Article 63 of Council Regulation (EC) N° 2100/94 on Community Plant Variety Rights established provisions in respect of the variety denomination including its suitability.

Council Directive 98/96/EC which has amended the various marketing Directives has provided, so far as the suitability of the denomination of a variety is concerned, for both agricultural and vegetable plant species, a cross reference to the above mentioned Article 63 of the Council Regulation on Community Plant Variety Rights and has also provided that detailed implementing rules may be adopted in accordance with the Standing Committee procedure.

A working paper submitted to the Committee tried to identify such rules in the form of a draft. It was prepared in cooperation between the Commission Services and CPVO.

The Committee discussed in details:

- use precluded by the prior right of a third party,

- difficulties as regards recognition or reproduction,

- confusion with a variety denomination,

- confusion with other designation,

- misleading or causing confusion.

In particular the question of possible rules on a coding system required further discussion.

4. Progress report on the 'screening' in respect of countries having applied to become member of the European Union

The Commission services informed the Committee on the "screening" results on the "quality of seeds and propagating material" acquis in the case of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia (meetings held from 18 and to 25 October 1999). Information was supplied - in so far available - on announcements of certain candidate countries' Delegations on specific issues to be raised in the negotiations.

The "screening" in respect of Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Romania is scheduled for the period 27 January - 4 February 2000.

5. Other business

The Committee noted the following:

(a) the Commission representative stated that the financial procedural aspects for any of the trials and tests, as identified in the previous meetings in 1999, have not been clarified yet. However, the delegations have been invited to check, should such aspects be clarified, the revised draft protocols (grasses, D; laboratory ring tests, DK; winter wheat, I; maize, A; potatoes, P; swede rape, UK; cotton, GR; sunflower, E; electrophoresis ring tests, F; barley, IRL);

(b) in respect of the possible implementing measures to be taken under Council Directive 98/95/EC

- several delegations expressed concerns due to delays in progress,

- an invitation of the Commission services to Member States to provide specific contributions as well as their priorities in respect of "in situ" conservation activities,

- an initiative of France (letter SOC, 19 November 1999) in respect of seed mixtures;

(c) several delegations expressed concerns due to the fact that the Commission has not yet adopted its proposal for the renewal by the Council of the seed equivalence regime (deadline 31.12.1999);

(d) the results of a consultation held on 22 November 1999 on the future of food safety in the EU;

(e) initiatives taken by FIS in May 1999 and by COSEMCO in October 1999 on "possible adventitious presence of genetically modified seed in seeds of non GMOs varieties";

(f) The text of the EPPO certification scheme approved in September 1999 (doc 99/7479);

(g) a new contribution submitted by the Group of Rapporteurs on the simplification of the conditions to be satisfied by the seed as regards germination, analytical purity and content of other plants species. This contribution referred to the conditions in respect of seed testing on wild oats;

(h) requests to provide for a derogation allowing for trade of herbage seed lots with an increased weight;

Liste des participants

Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating Material Date : 26 Novembre 1999

Etat Membre

Ministère ou Organisme

Nombre de personnes

BE

Ministère des Classes Moyennes et de la l'Agriculture

2

DK

Plantedirektoratet

2

D

Bundessortenamt

2

EL

Ministry of Agriculture - Plant Production Inputs - Seed and other Prop.Mat.Division

2

E

Min. de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentacion - Oficina española variedades vegetales

2

F

Ministère de l'agriculture et de la pêche sous direction de la foret

1

F

Service Officiel de Contrôle

1

IRL

Ministry of Agriculture - Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

2

I

Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, SF

1

I

ENSE

1

NL

Ministry of Agricultural Affairs - Nature Management and Fisheries

3

A

Bundesamt und Forschungszentrum für Saatgut

2

P

Ministerio da Agricultura - Direccao de Servicios de Controlo de Qualidade Sementes e Propagacao Vegetativa

1

FIN

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

1

S

Swedish Board of Agriculture

1

UK

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

2

N

Ministry of Agriculture

1

COM

European Commission - SANCO E.1

5

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