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ENVI Committee back NGTs in historic vote

WePlanet statement on the NGT vote in the European Parliament, 24 January 2024

Today's 47 to 31 vote in the environment committee of the European Parliament is a major win for the scientific and farming community in Europe. It means that the Commission's proposals for a more science-based approach the regulation of gene editing, Crispr and other 'new genomic techniques' will advance to a plenary vote of all MEPs and have a higher chance of becoming law.

This win shows that we can beat the anti-science lobby if we stand together and get organised. The outcome is a win also for the 37 Nobel laureates and nearly 1500 scientists who signed the Open Letter calling for Europe not to listen to populist misinformation and ignorance being promoted by those who oppose scientific innovations for ideological reasons. It is critical that the voices of these eminent scientists have been heard today, and that Europe is not closed to progress and innovation.

Using NGTs will enable scientists to help keep European farmers in business by allowing them to develop drought-resistant and pesticide-reducing crops. These will also further the EU's environmental goals and help the agricultural sector tackle the climate crisis. NGTs allow rapid and precise gene editing and is a step forward from the trial-and-error techniques of the past, which take decades to bring new crop traits to market.

However, we know this is still only the beginning. There are more votes to come, and these proposals must also pass the Council of Ministers as well as the full European Parliament. We must keep the pro-science coalition together, and get this past the finish line. With the climate emergency worsening, and European farming in crisis, there is not a moment to lose.

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