The European Commission together with the Austrian Presidency of the Council will hold a conference "Co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops – freedom of choice" from 4-6 April 2006 in Vienna, Austria.
This conference is being organised at a very important moment in time. The EU Member States are currently progressing in their development of national regulatory approaches to co-existence. However, the state of development still varies widely among the Member States. In a Communication adopted on 9 March 2006, the Commission provides an overview about the state of implementation of the national co-existence measures. In addition to this overview of the regulatory frameworks, the scientific base for technical measures to ensure co-existence and their socio-economic implications has recently been reviewed at the international conference on co-existence in Montpellier in November 2005.
It is now important to communicate the new insights gained to stakeholders and policy makers and to listen to their views. We believe that this dialogue is essential to decide about the most appropriate way forward on this important issue.
This conference should therefore bring together policy makers, scientists, and a broad range of stakeholders, such as farmers and consumers associations, NGOs, seed producers, importers, food and feed processors, etc.
The presentations and discussions will focus on the political and societal aspects of co-existence, with a particular attention to regulatory, technical and economic approaches to co-existence as well as consumer attitudes and market responses.
Attendance at the conference is by invitation only.
Given the international dimension of the issues to be discussed participants to the conference are delegates invited from primarily EU Member States and stakeholder organisations operating at EU level. Representatives of national organisations, enterprises or individual persons not affiliated to any institution may attend the conference provided they are formal delegates of a Member State or of an invited European stakeholder organisation.