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Parliamentary questions
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14 January 2020
 E-003295/2019
Answer given by Ms Kyriakides
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003295/2019

In the EU, all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) released into the environment need to be authorised according to Directive 2001/18/EC(1). This obligation is equally applicable to the release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes with the aim of eliminating outbreaks of vector-borne diseases. To date, no applications for an authorisation of GM mosquitoes have been made in the EU.

Any possible future application will have to undergo a thorough assessment of all identified risks in accordance with the abovementioned Directive and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidance on the environmental risk assessment (ERA) of GM animals(2), which contains specific information on how the ERA should be carried out for GM insects.

As to controls, the Member States are responsible for the implementation and proper enforcement of the EU legislation, including the provisions related to authorisations of release of GMOs. In the event of an unauthorised release, Directive 2001/18/EC obliges Member States to take all necessary measures to terminate the release, initiate remedial action if needed, and inform the public, the Commission and the other Member States. Where needed, the Commission coordinates actions between Member States and consults EFSA on issues related to possible risks.

The release of GM mosquitoes to reduce transmission of disease is not limited to Brazil, research into the applicability of such techniques is also being carried out in regions such as the Caribbean and West and Central Africa.

The EU-Mercosur trade agreement will not constrain the EU’s ability to regulate introductions of GM mosquitoes, as set out above.

(1)Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 March 2001 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms and repealing Council Directive 90/220/EEC (OJ L 106, 17.4.2001, p. 1).
(2)EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, 2013. Guidance on the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified animals. EFSA Journal 2013;11(5):3200, 190 pp. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3200.
Last updated: 14 January 2020Legal notice