The proposals put forward by the EPP rapporteur for the European Parliament’s COMENVI committee have aroused opposition from the left-wing parties, particularly with regard to authorising the use of category 1 NGTs in organic farming. Alongside the European Parliament, which has stepped up the pace of its work, the Council of Agriculture Ministers is discussing the issue again on 20 November, with a view to adopting a general Council approach (the Council’s negotiating position with the European Parliament).

In Germany, the major retail groups are divided over the issue of NGTs and the need for labelling or not.

For Furhter

Nature Restoration Law: a provisional agreement covering agricultural land

Four months after the vote in plenary, the Trilogue of 9 November marks the end of the negotiations on the Restoration of Nature regulation. An agreement of the three institutions has been found although it will now have to go through the final scrutiny of the Council and Parliament.

While waiting for the final text of the agreement and the analysis of the details, which are sometimes crucial, we can already see that on the agricultural part, the agreement is closer to the Commission’s proposal and the Council’s position than to that of the Parliament, which had requested the deletion of Article 9, i.e. the complete exclusion of agricultural land from the regulation.

Instead, the agreement reinstates Article 9 and retains its structure but switches from a result-based to an effort-based approach. Furthermore, Member States can choose two of the three proposed indicators (butterfly index; organic carbon stock; share of farmland with high-diversity topographical features). 

The reference to the 10 % objective of high diversity landscape features is deleted.

With regard to peatlands, the restoration targets from the Council general approach are maintained but the rewetting targets for 2040 and 2050 are reduced to a third. 

On forest ecosystem restoration, the indicators on standing and lying deadwood have been recovered, and at least one of the two should be mandatory. The need for Member States to consider the risk of forest fires is included.

Probably to take into consideration the food security debate that has animated the protests against this regulation, the enhacement of food security has been included as an objective in Article 1 of the regulation. 

Furthermore, with regard to financing, it is clarified that the implementation of this regulation does not imply the reprogramming of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy or other agricultural and fisheries financing programmes and instruments under the current MFF. In addition, the European Commission is requested to submit a report on the financial resources available in the EU to implement this regulation and the current funding needs to identify any funding gaps and to present the necessary proposals, including the establishment of specific funding. 

The Parliament obtains as well one of its demands, namely the obligation to plant, by 2030, 3 billion trees following ecological principles. 

It is therefore an agreement that respects the framework desired by the Commission, with its targets and obligations for the Member States that will have to carry the burden of this regulation. However, the EP obtained some adjustments and flexibilities on agriculture in order not to have this regulation in complete contradiction with the challenge of food security, as the Commission proposal envisaged.


The German Research Ministry has decided to invest 50 millions in NGTs R&D while some organic association continue to oppose the proposal of the commission.

Convinced by the potential of NGTs, the EP rapporteurs and the Council’s presidency aim at reaching negotiating positions as soon as possible to begin trilogues’ negotiations in early 2024.

Outside the EU, the UK, China and the US progress in CRISPR technologies and modify pigs and chickens against different viruses.

Opening of the European Wine Day 2023 in Toulouse

Today, Toulouse, the European capital of European wine in 2023, hosts ‘The Soul of Europe,’ the first edition of European Wine Day. Political leaders, economists, researchers, and representatives from across Europe are gathering to engage in discussions about the future of European and French wine sectors, as well as the role of wine in today’s and tomorrow’s European society.

The event will be marked by three insightful panel discussions. The first will focus on the agronomic transition of the European wine sector, considering stricter environmental regulations and the imperatives linked to climate change. The second will delve into the significance of wine in our societies, while the third will explore the evolution of wine consumption in Europe and globally, addressing both volumes and preferences.

European Wine Day is the result of a collaborative effort between four key players in the industry, each contributing a unique perspective: the think tank Farm Europe, the Cooperative Winemakers of France, the interprofessional organization of South-West Wines (IVSO), and the Assembly of European Wine Regions (AREV).

Building on the themes discussed in this high level event, it is clear that a united effort is required to navigate the path toward a sustainable and thriving European wine industry. By recognizing the challenges and opportunities presented by environmental shifts and changing consumer habits, we can collectively shape an innovative and prosperous future for this vital sector

Time for a bold protein strategy for Europe

In a significant move, the European Parliament has endorsed its own initiative report on the European protein strategy. This report underscores the importance of amplifying the production of protein sources within the EU’s agricultural sector. It emphasizes prioritizing natural agricultural proteins over synthetic alternatives or continued dependence on imports from Latin America.

While this report holds a non-binding legal status, it serves as a powerful signal to the European Commission. It highlights the urgency for the European Union to step up its efforts. These recommendations should be integral to the forthcoming draft of the European protein plan expected for 2024. Given that this will mark the Sixth protein strategy in less than three decades, it’s high time for substantial progress!

The resolution unequivocally advocates for enhancing all protein sources originating from the EU agricultural sector. This approach aims to bolster robust production of essential elements such as food, feed, and energy, which mutually complement one another.

A proposal advocating for a reduction in meat production and consumption was resolutely dismissed. In parallel, Members of the European Parliament stress the significance of supporting new breeding techniques to boost innovation in the seed sector.

When it comes to cellular products, the Parliament underlines that cell-based food entails ethical, social, environmental, and economic challenges. It further notes that the current Novel Foods Regulation is not fit for purpose.

Geographical indications: Parliament’s position shall be taken seriously by the EU presidency

Negotiations on EU geographical indications have hit an unexpected snag in the last trialogue while it was supposed to be the decisive one before the final one scheduled for 24 October in the presence of the President of the Council of Agriculture Ministers, Luis Planas, and Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski.

According to the lead negotiator of the European Parliament, Paolo de Castro, as well as the Committee chair of the Agriculture Committee, Norbert Lins, progress was hindered by the Spanish presidency’s unexpected rigidity, posing challenges in finding common ground with the European Parliament.

However, on key parameters of the initial Commission proposal, we consider that the European Parliament stroked the right balance to defend the interest of both producers and European consumers: 

  • In the case of wine, a balanced position is put forth by the Parliament, preserving provisions in the single CMO regulation. The insistence of the Council to incorporating all provisions into the horizontal Geographical Indication regulation even exceeds the Commission’s initial proposal.
  • The prerogatives of consortia that have been fighting for years to protect and guarantee the quality of protected designation of origin products, a symbol of the excellence of European agrifood, shall indeed be recognised.
  • The unwillingness to consider that the use of GIs used as an ingredient calls for an authorisation by the Consortium to avoid fraud and abuses detrimental to the image of quality products is surprising.
  • Finally, the will of the Parliament to foster and integrate sustainability criteria to be pursued could help producers to respond to consumers’ expectations.

Therefore, it would regrettable that reaching an agreement under the Spanish Presidency may prove more challenging than expected because of blockages on the home straight.

Sustainable Pesticide Use: a step in the right direction from the Parliament

Agriculture Committee Approves Ms Aguilera’s Report with ambitious targets while minimizing bureaucratic hurdles and the shortcomings of the initial proposal from the Commission”

On October 9th, the Agriculture Committee made a significant contribution regarding the sustainable use of pesticides (SUR) by voting on the Aguilera report. This report introduces key changes to the European Commission proposal that will shape the future of pesticide usage in agriculture. The approved AGRI opinion is a step in the right direction, setting ambitious targets while minimising bureaucratic hurdles, making it more practical and accessible for implementation in the agricultural sector. Many shortcomings of the initial proposal from the European Commission are corrected, which should encourage the Environment Committee of the Parliament to follow the same path and draw inspiration from the consistant approach of the report voted by ComAGRI.

Key Decisions

  1. Pesticide Reduction Targets: The committee has set an ambitious goal to reduce pesticide use and risks by up to 50% by 2035. Additionally, Member States are required to establish national reduction targets of at least 35%.
  2. Feasibility Evaluation: By 2029, the Commission would assess the feasibility of achieving the Union’s 2035 reduction targets. This assessment will be based on the availability of alternative non-chemical pest control methods and low-risk plant protection products.
  3. Adjusted Reference Period: The reference period for calculating the reduction in pesticide use and risk has been changed to 2011-2012-2013, a shift from the Commission’s proposal of 2015-2016-2017.
  4. Sensitive Areas: Member States have the authority to define their sensitive areas, but specific details on territorial designations would have to be defined by the Member States.
  5. Electronic Record-keeping: The requirement for farmers to use electronic registers to document preventive practices and pesticide applications was not approved. Articles 14 and 16, which outlined these obligations, were removed.
  6. Crop-Specific Guidelines: Article 15 now provides crop-specific guidelines instead of rigid rules for integrated pest management (IPM).Non-Chemical Pest Control: Farmers are no longer obligated to use non-chemical tools before resorting to pesticides. This change allows more flexibility in agronomic decisions.
  7. Fast Track Approval for Low-Risk Methods: A new article (42b) proposes to fasten approval process for low-risk and biological control methods. This includes the potential for provisional authorization of ‘biological control plant protection products derived from natural substances’.
  8. Precision Agriculture and Drones: The regulation calls for the implementation of precision agriculture, including the use of drones, one year after the regulation takes effect, as opposed to the Commission’s original proposal of three years.
  9. Financing: Article 43, which initially intended to fund this regulation with CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) funds, has been removed. MEPs felt that additional funding sources were necessary, and it was not appropriate to allocate existing CAP funds to new policies.

Final Approval

The final text of the Aguilera report was approved with 26 votes in favor, 9 against, and 3 abstentions. Notably, the Renew Group played a pivotal role in the decision-making process, at times aligning with the EPP and at other times abstaining.


While the EU is engaged in comprehensive discussions regarding the most efficient utilization of NGTs technologies to foster sustainability in the agricultural sector, the complex issue of intellectual property rights within this context seems to remain untouched. The UK are facing similar regulatory issues, while recent studies have shown that CRISPR-edited rice can produce up to five times more yields than its non-modified counterpart.

FARM to FORK polices & initiatives

In her State of the Union address, President von der Leyen paid tribute to EU agriculture and farmers,and called for a strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture. That same month, the EPP organised a conference on agriculture, while the Greens reiterated theiropposition to the NGT plan during a webinar on “GMO-free Europe” and TP Organics emphasised therole of organic farming in ensuring food security. European Commission President Von der Leyen explored the possibility of using EU funds to helpGreece tackle climate challenges. Discussions on visions for rural areas and soil health lawscontinued in September, with MEPs arguing in favour of an extended derogation from GAEC inresponse to the difficulties and requests of several Member States. While the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister stressed the importance of the solidarity corridors for theeconomy, agriculture and food security, and expressed his gratitude for the EU’s support, Ukraine haslodged complaints with the WTO against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, for the import bans imposedby the aforementioned countries, even though the ban decided at EU level has come to an end. A new FAO report raises concerns about the world’s progress towards meeting development goals, highlighting the essential role of agriculture in maintaining water supplies.