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On the Way to the EP Decision on NGTs Regulation   

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Re-Imagine Europa and EU-SAGE (European Sustainable Agriculture Through Genome Editing) organised the hybrid event “On the Way to the EP Decision on NGTs Regulation”, on January 10th, at the European Parliament. It brought together policymakers, farmers’ associations, scientists, and experts to engage in an interactive, informative and constructive discussion on the legislative proposal on New Genomic Techniques. The entire session was moderated by Dr Peter Kearns and Dr Oana Dima. 

 

On January 24th, 2023, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) of the European Parliament will vote on the legislative proposal on New Genomic Techniques. To address any remaining concerns and questions about NGTs, Re-Imagine Europa and EU-SAGE assembled a gathering of more than one hundred participants, online and at the European Parliament, for a hybrid event kindly hosted by Michaela Šojdrová MEP, Juozas Olekas MEP, and Veronika Vrecionová MEP.  

The event began with an update on the progress of the NGTs file at the AGRI Committee of the European Parliament, a unique opportunity provided by the hosting MEPs. It was followed by a presentation delivered by Professor Andrzej Nowak, Chief Narrative Scientist at Re-Imagine Europa, which launched the new “Depolarisation Manual: Navigating the Debate on New Genomic Techniques”. Using RIE’s R.E.F.R.A.M.E. Methodology, the publication aims to provide strategies to foster constructive dialogue, bridge differences and provide a blueprint for depolarising the debate and breaking the cycle of distrust.  

Following a pre-recorded message delivered by Mathias De Mesmaeker, representative from the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, an expert panel discussion took place. Dr. Petra Jorasch, Manager Plant Breeding and Innovation Advocacy at Euroseeds defended and explained the importance of a legal framework for breeding SMEs to use NGTs. Professor Ivo Frébort, Vice President of the European Federation of Biotechnology, clarified the differences between NGTs, GMOs and conventional breeding. Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of COPA COGECA, remarked that the European Union should continue paving the way to becoming the benchmark for innovation. Dorrit Andersen, Owner of RootConsult, argued that new and more resistant varieties are necessary for organic farmers to remain competitive. Finally, Peter Meedendorp, President of European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), highlighted that young farmers welcome the proposal and are determined to move forward towards sustainability, adding that the NGTs proposal is “no silver bullet, but one of the elements we need to make farming more sustainable and resilient” 

This message precisely aligns with Re-Imagine Europa’s position; it is necessary to shift the polarised narrative that defends an “one ideal model” and focus on building and developing a toolbox for farmers with multiple solutions for the huge diversity of challenges they face. 

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