The Romanian experience and perspective on the commercial cultivation of genetically modified crops in Europe
Romania was the third country in Europe and the tenth in the world, to commercially adopt genetically modified crops in 1999, only 3 years after they were first marketed globally. Half a million hectares of transgenic herbicide resistant soybean and insect resistant maize were grown in Romania during an uninterrupted 17-year period. After several years of continued declining area, the commercial cultivation of transgenic plants recently ended. The commercial cultivation of transgenic crops in Romania remains legally and technically possible, according to the EU and national regulations. However, the declining area cultivated with these crops in Romania seems to be the result of farmers’ conscious decision, while waiting for more profitable genetically modified crops to become available that better fit their needs. This expectation would be a logical result of the EU GMO opt-out Directive 2015/412 and the advent of the new plant breeding techniques. The GMO opt-out mechanism is still expected to unblock the EU authorization process after the large majority of the EU member states have already prohibited the cultivation of genetically modified organisms in their territory. As the new plant breeding techniques offer significant technical and economic advantages, they could be rapidly adopted by commercial breeders and farmers outside Europe. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that plants obtained with the new gene editing techniques must go through the same authorization procedure as transgenic plants. This decision is expected to delay the approval and availability of these new plant varieties on the EU market and their commercial cultivation.
KeywordsGM crops Transgenic plants GMOs NPBTs Genome editing Europe
This is publication no. 39 produced within the framework of the Framework Programme (FP) 7 AMIGA (Assessing and Monitoring the Impacts of Genetically modified plants on Agro-ecosystems) project funded by the European Commission (Grant Agreement no. 289706). The maps were created on mapchart.net.
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Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Data availability statement
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article and its electronic supplementary materials.
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