The EU regulates the marketing of plant reproductive material of agricultural, vegetable, forest, fruit and ornamental species and vines, ensuring that EU criteria for health and quality are met. EU legislation applies to genera and species important for the internal market and is based on:
Registration of varieties or material;
Certification or inspection of lots of seed and plant propagating material before marketing.
Seed from non-EU countries has to meet equivalence criteria. Non-EU countries guaranteeing they meet these criteria are listed as eligible to export to the EU.
Under certain conditions, EU countries may temporarily market seed which does not meet these standards e.g. when a supply shortage occurs mostly caused by reduced germination of seed.
The Commission establishes the rules in collaboration with national experts in the respective Standing Committees.
For the purpose of seeking improved alternatives to certain provisions set out in the Directives on marketing seeds, it may be decided to organise temporary experiments under specified conditions at EU level.
The following experiments are ongoing:
Temporary experiment under Council Directives 66/401/EEC, 66/402/EEC, 2002/54/EC and 2002/57/EC as regards the official checking rate for field inspection under official supervision for basic seed, bred seed of generations prior to basic seed and certified seed.
Temporary experiment under Council Directive 2002/56/EC as regards seed potato tubers derived from true potato seed
Reports on finalised temporary experiments:
- Temporary experiment on field inspection under official supervision for pre-basic and basic seed
- Temporary experiment providing for certain derogations for the marketing of populations of the plant species wheat, barley, oats and maize