Federal Constitutional Court: BIO Deutschland Calls for Opportunities for Plant Biotechnology
Following the ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court on the case by the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt against the Law on Genetic Engineering, BIO Deutschland has called for a rational approach to plant biotechnology.
The judges in Karlsruhe, the seat of the Federal Constitutional Court, discussed an application for a judicial review from the Government of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, in which it was argued that several restrictive clauses in the law are unconstitutional, as they unduly limit the use and release of genetically improved organisms in agriculture and the relevant research. The stricter regulations, particularly on the liability of genetically modified crop growers and the public register of locations of areas with genetically modified plants was adopted by the Social Democrat/Green coalition Federal Government at the end of 2004.
BIO Deutschland is in favour of the Law on Genetic Engineering being applied in the sense of innovations and economic relevance. If this technology of the future continues to be impeded in this country by impractical and unclear specifications, there is a risk that Germany will fall even further behind in the competition for the top places among the leading global players.
From Saxony-Anhalt’s perspective, the law leads to, among other things, every release attempt becoming an “incalculable economic risk” for research and the seed production companies involved, most of which are small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the public register of locations facilitates the politically motivated destruction of fields.
Small and medium-sized enterprises that invest in innovations create high-quality jobs. This means that the significant endeavours made by innovative farmers and technology entrepreneurs are economically worthwhile. With these endeavours, they do not only develop market innovations, which aim to safeguard the livelihoods and quality of life of all people in the future, but also create the prerequisites for making the products safe and sustainable. The more complex and costly the regulations to be adhered to are, the more difficult it is, particularly for the local, and above all the small firms, to survive on the international market.
BIO Deutschland also lobbies for freedom of choice: new plants and their products, which have already been inspected for safety in accordance with scientific criteria, should be made available to everyone. Genetically improved plant types have been grown in large areas all over the world for more than 25 years and are already of benefit to several million people.
Politicians are called upon to do more to support plant biotechnology. One of the world’s largest economic power centres cannot afford an anti-technological stance, as it cuts off its own industry from progress and thus from the future in this way. Industrial biotechnology, one of the supporting pillars on the path to a knowledge-based bio-economy, relies on the further development of plant biotechnology.
Applications are a key factor on the road to innovations that are “made in Germany”, as they turn a scientific discovery into an innovative product. If the current attitude to genetic engineering is not significantly changed, then Germany can bid farewell to making its own contribution to the global development of plant biotechnology.