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Procedure : 2016/2683(RSP)
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PV 08/06/2016 - 12.20
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Wednesday, 8 June 2016 - Strasbourg
Genetically modified carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L., line SHD-27531-4)

European Parliament resolution of 8 June 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision as regards the placing on the market of a genetically modified carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L., line SHD-27531-4) (D044927/02 – 2016/2683(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Commission implementing decision as regards the placing on the market of a genetically modified carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L., line SHD-27531-4) (D044927/02),

–  having regard to 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(1), and in particular the first subparagraph of Article 18(1) thereof,

–  having regard to Articles 11 and 13 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers(2),

–  having regard to the opinion published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on 15 December 2015(3),

–  having regard to the opinion delivered by EFSA on 10 November 2014(4),

–  having regard to the outcome of the vote of the Regulatory Committee on 25 April 2016,

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

–  having regard to Rule 106(2) and (3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in March 2013, a notification (reference C/NL/13/01) concerning the placing on the market of a genetically modified carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L., line SHD-27531-4) was submitted by Suntory Holdings Limited, Osaka, Japan, to the competent authority of the Netherlands;

B.  whereas the scope of notification C/NL/13/01 covers the import, distribution and retailing in the Union of cut flowers of the genetically modified (GM) carnation SHD-27531-4 for ornamental use only;

C.  whereas on 25 April 2016 the Regulatory Committee gave no opinion, with seven Member States representing 7,84 % of the population voting against the draft Commission implementing decision, six Member States representing 46,26 % of the population abstaining, eleven Member States representing 36,29 % of the population voting in favour and four Member States not being represented;

D.  whereas the EFSA opinion states that the EFSA GMO Panel is aware of a food habit in certain populations to intentionally consume carnation petals as garnish;

E.  whereas the EFSA GMO Panel did not, however, assess the possible consequences of the intentional consumption of GM carnations by humans;

F.  whereas both intentional and accidental oral intake of GM carnation flowers by animals were excluded from the EFSA opinion;

G.  whereas the carnation belongs to the species Dianthus caryophyllus of the widely cultivated genus Dianthus;

H.  whereas members of the genus Dianthus, including wild and domesticated species, are fairly diverse, as their origins range from southern Russia to Alpine regions of Greece and the Auvergne mountains of France; whereas Dianthus spp. are adapted to the cooler Alpine regions of Europe and Asia, and are also found in Mediterranean coastal regions; whereas D. caryophyllus is a widely cultivated ornamental plant in Europe, both in glasshouses and outdoors (i.e. in Italy and Spain), and is occasionally naturalised in some Mediterranean countries but appears to be restricted to the coastal Mediterranean regions of Greece, Italy, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia(5);

I.  whereas the main carnation-producing countries are Italy, Spain and the Netherlands and whereas wild Dianthus caryophyllus are primarily found in France and Italy(6);

J.  whereas Cyprus objected to the notification and the EFSA GMO Panel agreed with Cyprus that the propagation of carnation SHD-27531-4 (for example rooting) by individuals could not be excluded; whereas EFSA considers that cut stems with vegetative shoots could be propagated by rooting or by micropropagation and released into the environment (for example in gardens);

K.  whereas in the wild, cross-pollination of Dianthus spp. is carried out by insect pollinators, in particular by Lepidoptera, which have probosces of sufficient length to reach the nectaries at the base of the flowers; whereas the EFSA GMO Panel is of the opinion that the potential spread of pollen of the GM carnation SHD-27531-4 by Lepidoptera to wild Dianthus species cannot be eliminated;

L.  whereas once their ornamental value is over, the genetically modified Dianthus caryophyllus L., line SHD-27531-4 will become waste that, according to circular economy principles, will possibly be managed through composting, but whereas EFSA did not analyse the impacts of such release into the environment;

M.  whereas in the event of escape into the environment via viable seeds, pollen or rooted plants, the EFSA GMO Panel considers that carnation SHD-27531-4 would not show enhanced fitness characteristics, except when exposed to sulfonylurea herbicides;

N.  whereas the genetically modified carnation contains the SuRB (als) gene coding for a mutant acetolactate synthase (ALS) derived from Nicotiana tabacum, which confers tolerance to sulfonylurea;

O.  whereas, according to PAN UK, ‘some herbicides are highly toxic to plants at very low doses, such as sulfonylureas, sulfonamides and imidazolinones. Sulfonylureas have replaced other herbicides which are more toxic to animals. Experts have warned that the wide-spread use of sulfonylureas “could have a devastating impact on the productivity of non-target crops and the make-up of natural plant communities and wildlife food chains”’(7);

P.  whereas sulfonylureas are common second-line options for management of type 2 diabetes and are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events compared with other antidiabetic drugs(8);

Q.  whereas creating a market for sulfonylurea-resistant plants will encourage the worldwide use of this medicine against diabetes as a herbicide;

R.  whereas using a medicine for a purpose other than public health which leads to its uncontrolled spread in the ecosystems can have worldwide detrimental effects on biodiversity and cause chemical contamination of drinking water;

1.  Considers that the draft Commission implementing decision does not fulfil the objective of health and environment protection provided for in Directive 2001/18/EC and therefore exceeds the implementing powers provided for in this Directive;

2.  Calls on the Commission to withdraw its draft implementing decision;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 106, 17.4.2001, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.
(3) GMO Panel (EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms), 2015. Scientific Opinion on a Part C notification (reference C/NL/13/01) from Suntory Holdings Limited for the import, distribution and retailing of carnation SHD-27531-4 cut flowers with modified petal colour for ornamental use. EFSA Journal 2015;13(12):4358, 19 p. (doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4358).
(4) GMO Panel (EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms), 2014. Scientific Opinion on objections of a Member State to a notification (Reference C/NL/13/01) for the placing on the market of the genetically modified carnation SHD-27531-4 with a modified colour, for import of cut flowers for ornamental use, under Part C of Directive 2001/18/EC from Suntory Holdings Limited. EFSA Journal 2014; 12(11):3878, 9 p. (doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2014.3878).
(5) Tutin et al., 1993.

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