Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
1. 102 applications for GMO authorisation were submitted to EFSA(1) under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from 2004 to end of 2011, eight of which were withdrawn. EFSA adopted 38 scientific opinions on these applications. The 56 other applications are pending due to the ongoing risk assessment, incomplete files or insufficient information to support the application. End 2011, 29 of these GMOs with an EFSA's scientific opinion were approved by the Commission.
2. To date, eight applications with an EFSA scientific opinion are pending in the Commission for approval.
3. Most applications with an EFSA opinion were presented to the SCFCAH(2) after the three-month deadline.
4. The three-month deadline set by the co-legislator is very tight in practice. It is reminded that the Commission launches a one month public consultation on EFSA's opinions after their publication. The Commission sends the scientific comments to EFSA for analysis within one month. Upon request of the Member States, and in line with the conclusions of the 2008 Environment Council, EFSA presents its scientific opinion in the SCFCAH where Member States can clarify any remaining doubts. The decision is then put for vote at the following SCFCAH meeting, knowing that the Commission must follow strict internal procedures prior to sending a draft authorisation to the Member States 10 days before the vote. Any additional comments from stakeholders are also scrutinized and, when needed, the Commission goes back to EFSA to confirm the safety of the product.