Excluding Coexistence of GMOs? The Impact of the EU Commission's 2010 Recommendation on Coexistence



In the midst of the European Union (EU) genetically modified organisms (GMOs) regime, coexistence of GM and non-GM crops alongside each other remains technically within the competence of the Member States. Post EU authorization of a GM crop, Member States may legally take appropriate measures to limit or prevent the presence of GMOs within non-GM crops. In July 2010, as part of a Cultivation Package, the Commission created a new Coexistence Recommendation that supports a flexible approach to more stringent coexistence measures by the States, while attempting to maintain control over the legitimate objectives justifying the measures. This article analyzes the impact of the 2010 Recommendation upon coexistence in the context of the existing practices and the previous 2003 Recommendation, taking into account its status as a soft law document and the ‘domino effect’. It is argued that the 2010 Recommendation may have greater practical and legal ramifications for coexistence than might first be thought. In attempting to create guidelines that allow a more flexible and inclusive approach towards national measures, the 2010 Recommendation may act as a catalyst to eventually exclude GM cultivation within Member States.