The “Grow scientific progress” movement is being given a chance in Europe. The European Commission is allowing a new citizen initiative calling for revisions to deregulate gene-editing techniques. The petition would need to receive over 1 million statements of support from residents of seven member states in order to trigger European Commission analysis and response.
The organisers of the initiative state that Directive 2001/18/EC on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is ‘outdated’ and ask for a revision of its rules concerning new plant breeding techniques (NPBT), with the objective of facilitating ‘the authorisation procedure for those products obtained through NPBTs’.
Under the EU Treaties, the European Commission can take legal action in the area of the internal market and product authorisations. The Commission therefore considers the initiative legally admissible and has decided to register it.
The registration of this initiative will take place on 25 July 2019, starting a 1-year process of collection of signatures of support by its organisers.
That is no guarantee they would change anything. Europe routinely dismisses agricultural science, but since this initiative is by citizens it may help. Environmental groups have already begun to attack it, though.