June 2, 2020
The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the need for the EU to maintain control over its strategic production sectors. This includes seeds. However, on 7 April, the Commission – on the initiative of DG SANTE – published a “equivalence” proposal allowing seeds produced in Ukraine to be sold on the European market at a dumped price, despite such seeds not being subject to the same phytosanitary rules as EU producers.
As we shall see, the use of online meetings by EU Institutions
is permitting shortcuts.
For the Commission, it is simply a technical measure whose economic, environmental and social consequences have not been considered. No impact assessment has been done or even envisaged. Admittedly a public consultation is being held between 7 April and 2 June, but at the time of writing (29 May), just before the end of the consultation, we may say that, bar a miracle, the Commission proposal will be adopted by the co-legislators without any other kind of debate.
The “technical measure” label led COREPER I to adopt the Commission proposal de facto on 20 May, apparently without discussion. The Parliament for its part decided at the level of the Conference of Presidents that the “technical nature” of the proposal justified a simplified procedure excluding any discussion or amendment!
Informed at the last minute, in other words when the Commission published the proposal, maize producers are clinging to a faint hope: the opinion to be delivered by the European Economic and Social Committee. But what influence will this have? Will it be taken into account given the deadlines? In any case, we have received positive news that the Parliament has decided to revert to the classic adoption process. Amendments will now be possible.
It is quite frightening to observe such practices which contradict the ethics and good governance commitments of the von der Leyen Commission. And it is very unpleasant to see how the Covid-19 health restrictions are making EU bureaucracy even more impenetrable and dominant.
June 2020Daniel Gueguen