The consultation activities are set out in the consultation strategy, published on the Commission’s website. These include a public consultation, a targeted survey addressed to stakeholders, stakeholder interviews and two stakeholder focus groups on sustainability and traceability. In addition, data and information will be gathered through case studies and an extensive literature review.
The public consultation was carried out by the Commission services and the responses were analysed by the external contractor supporting the Commission in the preparation of the impact assessment. The targeted consultation activities are being carried out and analysed by the same external contractor.
The public consultation and the targeted survey have been concluded, while the interviews and the focus groups are currently ongoing.
Both consultations ask feedback on the same potential policy approaches, based on the key policy elements outlined in the inception impact assessment (i.e., risk assessment, sustainability, traceability and provision of information). The policy approaches described in both consultations cover the full range of views received as feedback to the inception impact assessment from different stakeholders. The difference between the two consultations is on the format and the level of detail provided. This is due to the different aims and target audiences.
The public consultation asks questions on the direction that future policies might take, and on general impacts, in a format that is intended to be understandable by non-experts and the public.
The targeted survey is intended to collect detailed technical feedback on specific impacts that the potential policy options might have, for which expert knowledge and data is required. To this end, the various policy options in the targeted consultations are presented in a more structured format and higher level of technical detail, compared to the public consultation.
The Commission’s standards for Better Regulation require the conduct of an impact assessment that includes different policy options. In this case, the Commission will assess a broad range of options that reflect the full diversity of opinions and proposed policy approaches received in the feedback to the inception impact assessment in the areas of risk assessment, sustainability, traceability and provision of information.
The Commission is gathering evidence and assessing potential positive or negative impacts of this whole range of approaches.
The ongoing work on the impact assessment, and the policy options examined therein, do not prejudge in any way the final policy outcome. Only when the impact assessment is completed, the Commission will be able to decide, which policy option to pursue.
The public consultation questionnaire reflected the wide diversity of stakeholder views received in the feedback to the inception impact assessment and provided ample opportunities for respondents to express their views.
In particular, the questionnaire allowed respondents to express their view whether the current legislation is adequate or not for these products; in each case it allowed, by means of multiple-choice answers, to indicate the underlying reasons. In the same section, respondents could indicate whether maintaining the GMO legislation without any change would have positive or negative impacts for their sector and explain why.
The questionnaire also consulted on potential future policy approaches, based on the key policy elements described in the inception impact assessment, i.e., risk assessment, sustainability, traceability and provision of information. In each of these, choices for answers included the full range of stakeholder views. For example, respondents could reply that the current risk assessment, labelling, and traceability requirements need to be maintained, or that different approaches are required.
The questionnaire also contained a number of open questions, e.g., on co-existence with conventional or organic agriculture or specific input related to SMEs, allowing to provide free text and the possibility to upload documents, which can both be used to provide additional replies, arguments, or information.
Based on the consultation strategy, almost 400 organisations were invited to the targeted survey, representing all different stakeholder groups that are affected or interested in this field, including economic operators along the agri-food and feed chain (farmers, breeders, traders, processors, manufacturers, retailers and food services, including specific sectors such as organic or GMO-free), bio-based industries in sectors other than the agri-food and feed sector, research and academia, non-governmental organisations in areas such as the environment, grass-root farming and consumers, as well as the Member States.
Information on the targeted survey stakeholders can be found here, and the questionnaire used here.
All stakeholder feedback and contributions to all consultation activities (public or targeted) will feed into the external study which the Commission has launched to support the preparation of the impact assessment, and will be summarised and analysed in the synopsis report accompanying the impact assessment.
All public consultations contributions have already been published, together with a factual summary, on the relevant ‘Have Your Say’ webpage of the Commission, in line with privacy preferences on personal data indicated by each respondent who participated.
Once the impact assessment will be finalised, all targeted consultation contributions will be published together with the impact assessment, except for personal data or confidential information.
Information on the stakeholders consulted in the targeted survey can be found here.
The external contractor will conclude the targeted consultation activities, which will feed into the external study which the Commission has launched to support the preparation of the impact assessment. The Commission will continue to prepare the impact assessment, and if so decided on the basis of its outcome, prepare a legislative proposal to be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council, which is tentatively planned for Q2 2023.