Die Zeichnungsfrist ist beendet

at 12 Mar 2014 13:37

Dear supporters of our petition,

the EU-Parliament published the results of yesterdays votings on the Commissions proposal for a seed regulation, and other topics.

The correct numbers are as following:

voting 6 on the Commissions proposal: 15 yes; 615 no, 13 abstained;
voting 7 on the request for a referral: 574 yes, 90 no, 10 abstained;
voting 8 on the legislative resolution: 511 yes, 136 no, 16 abstained
(please notice: it was 511 yes and not only 51 as in the last mail wrongly written)

If you are interested in the question who voted how, you find the results of roll-call votes here:
tinyurl.com/EP-voting-140311 on pages 16 to 21.

best regards
Andreas Riekeberg

Campaign for seed-sovereignty
www.seed-sovereignty.org

Die Zeichnungsfrist ist beendet

at 12 Mar 2014 09:17

Dear supporters!

We've made it! The Parliament of the EU has decided: the Commissions proposal for a seed regulation is politically dead. In yesterdays plenary session was adopted with 51 to 130 votes a legislative resolution, which rejects the proposal of 6 Mai 2013 very clear and calls the Commission to submit a new one.

Until the last moment it was unclear: would the Parliament adopt such a legally binding resolution or would it restrict itself to a simple appeal to the Commission to withdraw the proposal? This appeal in the so called rejection report got 650 to 15 votes. But the Parliament insisted in a voting on the legislative resolution with the above mentioned result.

By this the longstanding engagement of organisations and groups which are dedicated to the maintaining and broadening of diversity, which are working for farmers rights to produce, exchange and use their seed or which are breeding varieties for ecofarming was successful.

With this decision the Parliament gave ear to the many hundreds of thousands of people from many European countries which signed since April 2013 diverse petitions against the Commissions proposal. Alone our petition „seed diversity under threat“ got some 150.000 supporters in 12 different languages.

A big „THANK YOU“ to all of you!

Now it would be important to adopt the current – even restrictive – EU-seed-law to the demands of maintaining and broadening of diversity. By this there should be given a reasonable legal framework to the groups, organisations and individuals which are engaged in this, and these initiatives should be supported and not restricted. A first step could be the evaluation of the so called conservation directives 2008/62/EC and 2009/145/EC, which should be done (as the directive itself demands) until end of 2013.

On the other hand the official control of the seeds of the seed industry has to be ensured. Concentration processes through acquisitions and interdependence have led in the past 30 years to a dangerous market power of the major chemical and seed corporations. And the seed industry won't give up their aim. Yesterday the seed lobby ESA tried to disturb the audience be claiming that the decision taken by the Parliament is invalid by procedural mistakes, see kurzlink.de/esa-seedlaw-140311. Anyhow, ESA's Secretary General Garlich von Essen had to admit the strength of the opponents to the new seed regulation and has spoken of a "very, very strong campaign".

Now we have to wait and be aware of how the Commission and the Council react on the resolution of the Parliament – and we will be attentive to intervene if necessary. In the times of climate change and exhaustion of resources we need a reorientation in the demands to varieties. How long agriculture and horticulture will be able to afford high-input-varieties? In the long run we need varieties with a positive energy balance – for this we need a rethinking in the seed legislation, and for this the support of you all will be needed furthermore!

Best regards
Andreas Riekeberg

Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty
www.seed-sovereignty.org

Die Zeichnungsfrist ist beendet

at 09 Mar 2014 23:56

Dear supporter!

On Tuesday is the big seed day in the EU-Parliament. It The EP will vote on their statement on the commissions proposal in plenary. What will happen?
Scenario A: The Parliament adopts a “non-legislative rejection”. This is just a postponement - just a show. In this scenario, the new parliament will continue the work after elections in May.

Scenario B: The Parliament adopts a LEGISLATIVE rejection. This would mean the political death of the seed regulation. On Monday evening, the major political groups will discuss the issue on and fix their position. A so called 1st reading.

It is VERY important to call them and demand a LEGISLATVIE rejection (Option B).
The draft for such an LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION is already tabled! You find it here: tinyurl.com/legislative-resulution-seedlaw or: www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A7-2014-0112+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN Please chose your language at the top of the page.

English text of the tabled legislative resulution:
"The European Parliament, ... 1. Rejects the Commission proposal;
2. Calls on the Commission to withdraw its proposal and submit a new one;
3. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments."

Please contact the relevant people per telephone.
1.) your national MEPs , see www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html
2.) the rapporteurs see www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/2_List_rapporteurs.pdf
3.) The presidents of the Parliament, see www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/1_List_presidents.pdf You just need to click on them to obtain their phone numbers.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please note that Monday, 10. March, it’s the "Strasbourg session". This means: Until lunch: Make phonecalls in Brussels. After lunch: Make phonecalls in Strasbourg. It would be really important if you could call them!

There is still a chance to kick the proposal back! Let's use it!

Best regards
Andreas Riekeberg

Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty
www.seed-sovereignty.org

Die Zeichnungsfrist ist beendet

at 05 Dec 2013 23:57

News on the debate about the EU seed law:

PARADIGM SHIFT instead of tinkering with niches

From 22 to 24 Nov in Vienna there was a meeting of European organisations on seed policy. There was adopted a declaration, see www.eu-seedlaw.net, available in 13 languages.

The main demands:

1. People, whether they be farmers or gardeners must not be obliged to buy seeds or other “plant reproductive material” from commercial providers. Any regulation must guarantee the rights of farmers, gardeners and all collectives to use, exchange and sell their own seeds and plants.

2. The industry standard should not be the adopted standard for the seed and plant market. It implies a technical and legal definition that natural plants cannot comply with.

3. Freely reproducible plants should not be subject to compulsory registration for varieties or certification of seeds and plants. Biodiversity should take precedence over commercial interest.


News on the LEGISLATIVE PROCESS:

In Brussels the new EU seed regulation is highly debated. The leading AGRI-committee of the EU-Parliament has postponed the deadline for amendments from 4 Dec to 11 Dec. In the last public meeting of the committee appeared great differences of opinion regarding the new regulation.

The Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty demands: there have to be substantial improvements for farmers seeds, for biodiverse seeds and for seeds for organic agriculture. The easiest change would be to make a shift from a mandatory registration of varieties and certification of seed lots to a voluntary one. Such a paradigm shift would be much easier than to tinker with niches.

Voluntary registration and certification and the product liability law are sufficient to guarantee for the farmers the identity and quality of the bought seeds and other plant propagation material.

If the Parliament should not feel brave enough to make this paradigm shift, it should send the whole proposal back to the EU commission and ask for a fundamental revision in the described direction.


WHAT CAN YOU DO in favour of farmers seeds and biodiversity?

1. Please write to MEPs of you country and ask for the above mentioned paradigm shift or a rejection of the PRM proposal
AGRI: www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/agri/members.html#menuzone
ENVI: www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/envi/members.html#menuzone

2. Please write to the (shadow) rapporteurs of the AGRI and the ENVI-commitee
2a) AGRI rapporteur: sergio.silvestris@europarl.europa.eu
Shadow rapporteurs of the other political groups in AGRI:
george.lyon@europarl.europa.eu
julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu
Johnstuart.agnew@europarl.europa.eu
alfreds.rubiks@europarl.europa.eu
martin.haeusling@europarl.europa.eu

2b) ENVI rapporteur: pilar.ayuso@europarl.europa.eu
Shadow rapporteurs of the other political groups in ENVI:
corinne.lepage@europarl.europa.eu
satu.hassi@europarl.europa.eu
pavel.poc@europarl.europa.eu
joao.ferreira@europarl.europa.eu
James.nicholson@europarl.europa.eu

MESSAGE: Farmers, seed savers and producers of organic seeds may not be sold off the market!

Seed producing farmers may not be forced by the new EU seed law to register their seeds, which are often only offered on a regional market, and the may not be forced to certificate their seeds costly.

Both is not only expensive, but will not succeed in many cases, because the homogeneity and the stability which is needed for registration is not by nature a property of plants! Both is produced by the seed industry for 'their' varieties, to be able to justify the protection of an intellectual property right. Farmers seeds with a broader genetic basis may not and seldom even can be pressed in corset of definition of variety.

Biodiverse seeds of seed savers have to be free trade-able as well, either on seed swaps as on markets or in long distance sale. Limitations of these varieties by phytosanitary arguments is not acceptable. Threats to plant health are neither the biodiverse seeds nor the organic seeds, but the cultivation on an industrial scale and in monoculture.


Last but not least a little PARABLE:

Could not be compared the so called "seed market" according to the PRM-proposal with a courtyard of a prison? Inside there will be the farmers and the gardeners with their demand for seeds. The prison wall is the seed legislation. Only a few producers of seeds (the seed industry) can come through the walls (fulfilling with their seeds the criteria for registration and certification) and sell their seeds inside. Seed producing farmers and others have to stay outside.
What will happen to the prices of seeds? And to biodiversity? And to the farmers?

Tear down this prison wall of seed legislation!


Kind regards
Andreas Riekeberg

Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty
www.seed-sovereignty.org/EN/index.html

Petition in Zeichnung

at 02 Nov 2013 22:49

Dear Signatories of our petition „Zadendiversiteit wordt bedreigd: Geen Europese regulering ten gunste van de zadenindustrie“ !

Dank u wel!


With some 1000 signatures at the end of the subscription period this midnight the response to the petition was pleasant. (all together we are nearly 150.000 supporters) Thanks to all who signed the petition! The maximum subscription period of six months is prescribed by the platform "openPetition" and can not be extended. We also thank openPetition for providing the platform!

If anybody wants to invite friends and colleague to support the petition, you my point in the next days at the English/Spanish version here www.openpetition.de/petition/online/amenaza-a-la-diversidad-de-semillas-no-a-las-normas-europeas-en-beneficio-de-la-industria-semillera#googtrans(de%7Ces) or the Swedish/German version here: www.openpetition.de/petition/online/mngfalden-av-froeer-hotas-nej-till-eu-s-inskraenkande-regler-till-foermn-foer-utsaedesindustrin


What is next ?

The petition will be handed over in Brussels during the course of the legislative process. When there will be the right time for this, that depends on further course.

So far, in the lead Agricultural Committee of the EU Parliament the rapporteur for seed legislation was set, it is Sergio Silvestris of the Italian PdL , a member of the EPP Group. He will write the report of the Committee on the proposed legislation to the House of Parliament. A draft for this is just available here: www.saatgutkampagne.org/PDF/Draft_Report_PRM.pdf There are also so-called shadow-rapporteurs of the other groups.

A first debate on the bill has taken place on 30.9., here's a look back: www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/2013-10-10_NL_Europarlementariers_uiten_kritiek_op_de_nieuwe_Europese_zadenwetgevin.pdf . From the other groups came requests and criticism of the Commission proposal. In the end it will be important that the members of the EPP Group follow their conscience in the seed question and vividly interfere in the debate - and not bow to the party discipline, assumed to be set by Albert DESS from Bavaria, who is the coordinator of EPP group in the AGRI committee.

The next steps are now: the second debate in the Agriculture Committee on November 25/26 2013 and the submission of amendments until December 4 2013. After this date these amendments will be debated and voted. The first debate in the House of Parliament is scheduled for mid April 2014.

Besides this a working group of the Council of the EU currently meets on a monthly basis. There the member governments are represented, and they are preparing their position. If the results of the Parliament and Council are be different, a so-called "trialogue " between the EU Commission, Parliament and Council will be held.


What can I do myself more ?

a) Please keep yourself and others informed! May be you would like to watch and to screen our documentary “Veerkrachtig zaad” www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2gY_Ov0Vf0 or in English "Resilient Seed" www.youtube.com/watch?v=unsC2SGdMBU . You may pass this info on, read and distribute our brochure "Resilient Seed" www.saatgutkampagne.org/PDF/Resilient_Seed_EN_web.pdf or in German www.saatgutkampagne.org/PDF/Booklet_Saatgutfilm2011_web.pdf

b ) You could discuss in local groups on seed legislation.

c ) You may enter into conversation with EU parliamentarians: Write to MPs to which you have a geographic proximity www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/nl/agri/members.html#menuzone . Please describe to them why the diversity of seeds and farmers seeds is important to you and what you require for the new seed legislation. You may refer to the „joint statement on the proposal on legislation about plant reproductive material“, www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/joint_statement_seed_legislation_2013-06-12_web.pdf If you inform us of reactions, we can go into it.

d) You could start or continue by yourself to save seeds. You may attend or organize seed-swaps - a great way to get in contact with like-minded people! Seed swaps are preferable from February to April or May.

e) visit www.seed-sovereignty.org We try to keep you informed!

Best regards
Andreas Riekeberg ,Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty
Email: info@www.seed-sovereignty.org

Petition in Zeichnung

at 29 Oct 2013 22:21

Hello,

you have signed the petition „Zadendiversiteit wordt bedreigd: Geen Europese regulering ten gunste van de zadenindustrie.“ Dank je wel!

Saturday is the last day to sign this petition here www.openpetition.de/petition/online/zadendiversiteit-wordt-bedreigd-geen-europese-regulering-ten-gunste-van-de-zadenindustrie#googtrans(de%7Cnl)

If you want to share the petition with other people, please do it just now. With your help we will reach the level of 1.000 supporters for the dutch version! All 15 petitions together, we're now some 150.000 supporters.

Some of the last comments to the petition from signers:

„Voedsel belangt iedereen aan, voedsel moet veilig en natuurlijk blijven en in de handen van boeren, in het belang van biodiversiteit van de aarde.“

“Het kan niet verstandig zijn, om de distributie en handel in zaden strikt te reglementeren en te beperken tot enkele grote spelers. Zeker niet als we weten dat een aantal van die spelers alle gezondheids en voorzichtigheidsprincipes in het verleden al met de voeten hebben getreden. Bovendien is het duidelijk dat deze nieuwe richtlijnen ontstaan uit gelobby om macht en geld en niet omwille van sociale of gezondheidsredenen.”

„Voorstel ondersteunt alleen maar monopolisten en vermindert diversiteit. Faliekant tegen deze commercieel gedreven centralisatie.”

“Biodiversiteit kan en mag niet ondergeschikt gesteld worden aan en of ander economisch belang, daarvoor is een rijkdom zoals de natuur, maar ook de gezondheid van niet alleen de mens, maar ook andere wezens, te belangrijk.”

Vriendelijke groeten,
Andreas Riekeberg

Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty
www.seed-sovereignty.org/NL/index.html
info@seed-sovereignty.org

Petition in Zeichnung

at 11 Oct 2013 14:54

Europarlementariers uiten kritiek op de nieuwe Europese zadenwetgeving

De „Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty“ (www.seed-sovereignty.org/NL) ziet zichzelf bevestigd in de kritiek op het „Voorstel voor een verordening betreffende de productie en het op de markt aanbieden van teeltmateriaal“ (www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/EU_COM_proposal_PRM_NL.pdf ) door de toespraken van Europarlementariërs uit de AGRI commissie.

Tijdens het overleg op 30 september (Video: bifurcatedcarrots.eu/euparl/agri30sept_en.wmv) spraken Martin Häusling (Groenen/EFA; Duitsland), Karin Kadenback (S&D; Oostenrijk), Ulrike Rodust (S&D; Duitsland) en Britta Reimers (ALDE; Duitsland) zich uit tegen de toenemende concentratie in de markt voor landbouwzaden, en tegen het grote aantal gedelegeerde handelingen in de wet. Zij vroegen om deregulering voor kleine producenten en transparantie van de toegepaste kweekmethoden.

John Stuart Agnew (EFD; VK) benadrukte hoe belangrijk het is dat particulieren niet onder de wetgeving vallen. Marc Tarabella (S&D; Belgie) wil dat de vrije uitwisseling van zaden tussen boeren onderling mogelijk blijft. Georg Lyon(ALDE; VK) betwijfelt of de nieuwe regels inderdaad voor vereenvoudiging gaan zorgen.

Fervente voorstanders van het wetsvoorstel zijn rapporteur Sergio Silvestris (EPP; Italie) en Herbert Dorfmann (EPP; Italie). Opvallend was dat geen van tweeën een onderscheid konden of wilden maken tussen het registreren van plantenvariëteiten en het certificeren van teeltmateriaal. Schaduw-rapporteur Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (S&D; Portugal) sprak ook zijn steun voor het voorstel uit, en stelde dat de identiteit van variëteiten en fytosanitaire aspecten voor hem centraal staan, beide kwesties waar Silvestres naar verwees in antwoord op de verklaringen van de andere Europarlementariërs.

Kaderlid Poudelet van DG SANCO van de EU-commissie lichtte het punt over boerenzaaigoed aldus toe: „Als een boer zaden verkoopt aan een andere boer, oftewel wanneer sprake is van verkoop met winstoogmerk, dan moet hij zeker eerst door de certificering”. Deze toenemende controle over boerenzaaigoed was kort voor het AGRI overleg al naar voren gebracht door de Campaign for Seed Sovereignty.

Op 24 november staat de zadenregulering opnieuw op de agenda van de AGRI commissie. Het is belangrijk om een krachtige boodschap door te geven aan de leden van deze commissie met onze eisen:
- regulering moet uitsluitend betrekking hebben op handel in zaden boven een vastgestelde grens;
- boerenzaden, traditionele of zeldzame zaden moeten worden vrijgesteld van regulering;
- biologische variëteiten moeten ook buiten de regelgeving vallen en vereisen aparte procedures;
- volledige transparantie over moderne kweekmethodes!


Ernstige bedenkingen bij het voorstel:

Voor het eerst valt niet alleen de handel in zaden onder de Europese regelgeving, maar mogelijk ook de productie van zaden. Het effect daarvan zal zijn dat boeren en kwekers die zaden voor zichzelf of voor hun buren produceren, ook onder de regels vallen en verplicht worden om informatie bij te houden over een groot deel van hun activiteiten (paragraaf 6-8 in het voorstel). Dit creëert een zware administratieve belasting, met name voor kleine en zelfvoorzienende boeren in Oost- en Zuid-Europa. Het is van groot belang dat alle boeren hun eigen zaaigoed kunnen blijven gebruiken, zonder juridische en administratieve obstakels.

Daarnaast zal de voorgestelde regulering veel meer impact hebben dan de huidige richtlijnen. De Europese regels laten geen ruimte voor lokale interpretatie en handhaving, waardoor aanpassingen aan de specifieke eisten van de verschillende landbouwstructuren in de lidstaten niet langer mogelijk zijn.

Het belangrijkste probleem van de nieuwe regels is echter dat ze de zeer homogene en stabiele DUS (Distinctive, Uniform, Stable) variëteiten bevoordelen. Dit zijn industriële variëteiten die zijn afgestemd op agrochemische landbouw en de voedselverwerkende industrie, die uniforme, transporteerbare en lang houdbare gewassen vereist.

Het nieuwe zadenbeleid zou zich juist moeten richten op het ondersteunen en stimuleren van werkelijke diversiteit in zadenvariëteiten. Wat van belang is, is het behoud van variëteiten die optimaal zijn aangepast aan regionale bodem- en klimaatomstandigheden, die geschikt zijn voor ambachtelijke verwerking, gewassen met een grote diversiteit aan smaken en een brede genetische basis. Doorgaan met de huidige uitgangspunten van de zadenwetgeving, terwijl de wet steeds meer terreinen bestrijkt en de DUS criteria als maatstaf worden gehanteerd, zal onvermijdelijk leiden tot versnelde erosie van de biodiversiteit in de landbouw, en brengt de voedingsbasis voor de komende eeuw in gevaar.

Ondertekening van de open brief „Zadendiversiteit wordt bedreigd“: www.openpetition.de/petition/online/zadendiversiteit-wordt-bedreigd-geen-europese-regulering-ten-gunste-van-de-zadenindustrie#googtra

Petition in Zeichnung

at 13 Jun 2013 14:48

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE PROPOSAL ON LEGISLATION ABOUT PLANT REPRODUCTIVE MATERIAL
www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/joint_statement_seed_legislation_2013-06-12_web.pdf

On the 13th of June, the EU Commission will hold a conference in Brussels with the EU Parliament and EU Council to explain the package “smarter rules for safer food“ on seed marketing, plant pests, animal health and related official controls.

Whilst in the preamble, the proposal for the plant reproductive material law looks as if every effort is being made to preserve and promote agricultural biodiversity and on-farm conservation, the reality is that the opposite is happening. New rules and restrictions have been created which hamper the freedom of farmers and seed saving organisations. In addition, the “niche” (art. 36) is not going to work in a practical sense, because of the restrictions assigned to “niche” sector and the perspective of them being further tightened by means of “Delegated Acts” by the EU Commission at any stage.

The main lobby organization of the seed industry ESA has in a letter to MEPs expressed their satisfaction with the proposal in an alarming way (www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/ESA_to_EU_Parliament.pdf).
ESA writes “The proposals of the European Commission … pave the way for establishing a modern, dynamic, harmonised and simplified legal framework for seed.”
What does this sentence of ESA mean?
1.) In this context, ”modern” means: The law is made for the demands of the seed industry; more precisely to facilitate the commercialization of varieties dependent on fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals in order to increase agricultural productivity. This deprives European citizens of the choice for another agricultural model which does not affect the water tables and the soil. Some “modern” biotechnological breeding methods, which are not classified as “classic” genetic manipulation and do not require special labelling, result in infertile plants. This is a danger for agro-biodiversity.
We demand transparency in breeding methods! European citizens must have a choice of which agricultural development they want to support. Therefore proprietary and non-reproducible varieties must be labelled as such.

2.) “Dynamic” probably refers to the many Delegated Acts, more than 30. With these Delegated Acts, the Commission reserves the right to formulate the details of the legislation at a later date by committee vote without approval of the Parliament. Not only technical details, but many important issues are left open. The proposal is only a “legal framework” that is later defined by committees heavily influenced by industry.
We demand that the EU Parliament should not adopt such a black box.
3.) “Harmonised” refers to the fact that this law will be valid without national adaptation in all EU states. This is for the benefit of transnational corporations of the seed and agrochemical industries; they want to sell to a common market.
We demand that the EU member states have room to adapt the law to local needs of agriculture and horticulture.

4.) The ESA welcomes the alleged “farmers’ access to the best plant varieties”.
We strongly question the idea that the varieties of the seed industry are the best. They are the ones adapted to agrochemicals and to industrial agriculture and industrial processing of food. These are not adapted to local soil and climate, not adapted to small scale agriculture nor to the tastes of people in the different member states.

5.) The ESA does not tell us the true costs of their industrial seed production: the farmers' loss of independence, their ability to produce seeds and other propagating material themselves, the loss of soil fertility and the loss of the fauna and flora in the forests and fields due to the use of agrochemicals.
We demand that farmers and gardeners should be able and allowed to produce and exchange their own seeds and propagating material, without niche limitations and without mandatory registration of operators, without any mandatory registration of plant varieties and without any mandatory certification or registration of seed lots! Especially seeds not covered with Intellectual Property Rights should be exempt from mandatory registration.

In summary, you do not need such a restrictive and bureaucratic legislation to produce seed of high quality, even the seed industry does not need that, do they? The fact that ESA demands restricted market access, only for their own category of varieties, shows how insecure they are with regard to market success of such seeds. It seems that ESA is afraid of free competition with farmers' varieties, with varieties bred for organic farming, and with diversity varieties – even though these varieties comprise only a small part of the seed market. ESA demands a bureaucratic legislation, because the administrative burdens can only be covered by multinationals with huge seed sales volumes or, simply, enough