The EU regulates the marketing of plant reproductive material of agricultural, vegetable, forest, fruit and ornamental species and vines, ensuring that EU criteria for health and quality are met. EU legislation applies to genera and species important for the internal market and is based on:
- Registration of varieties or material;
- Certification or inspection of lots of seed and plant propagating material before marketing.
Seed from non-EU countries has to meet equivalence criteria. Non-EU countries guaranteeing they meet these criteria are listed as eligible to export to the EU.
Under certain conditions, EU countries may temporarily market seed which does not meet these standards e.g. when a supply shortage occurs mostly caused by reduced germination of seed.
The Commission establishes the rules in collaboration with national experts in the respective Standing Committees.