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6 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM everal authors suggest there is a gridlock of the European Unions approval process for genetically engineered crops. To test this hypothesis we analysed the voting behav- iour of EU Member States for voting results on the approval of GE crops from 2003 to 2015. Unfortunately no reliable data is available pre-2003a time which includes the EUs quasi-moratorium on GE crops. In terms of the approval process it is the European Food Safety Authority that deter- mines the safety of a GE crop. Once that is done the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health SCFCAH votes on the application. If the SCFCAH does not reach a decision the Appeal Committee pre-Lisbon Treaty is known as the Council votes on the application. If again a decision is not reached the final decision is left to the European Commission Figure 1. All EU Member States are represented on both committees decisions are made by a qual- ified majority voting system the rules of which have changed over time. VOTING BEHAVIOUR The analysed data includes 50 events as well as 61 ballots at the SCFCAH and 57 ballots at the CouncilAppeal Committee. It should be noted that the EUs membership has grown over time. Therefore the number of voting opportunities per Member State is a function of how long it has been a member of the EU and the number of ballots during its membership. Generally the longer a MS has been a member the higher the number of voting opportunities. The Netherlands Sweden Finland the United Kingdom the Czech Republic Estonia Romania and Spain have voted for with a frequency of at least 80 per cent. Austria Luxembourg Greece Hungary Cyprus and Lithuania have voted against with a frequency of at least 80 per cent whereas Italy France Bulgaria and Ireland abstained at least 40 per cent of the time at the SCFCAH. Finland and the Netherlands always voted for and Austria always against at both the SCFCAH and the CouncilAppeal Committee. Croatia Luxembourg and Latvia have never voted for at the CouncilAppeal Committee. The SCFCAH represents the first step in the political decision-making process. Should MSs fail to vote in favour of an appli- cation here the political process continues with the Commission becoming involved Figure 1. Descriptive statistics indicate the voting behaviour of the SCFCAH and the CouncilAppeal Committee is similar Figures 2 and 3. We treated every for vote as a positive statement for supporting a GE crops author- isation. The against and abstain votes and several forms of absenteeism were interpreted as negative statements opposing authorisation. We used a set of logistic regressions for testing whether a MSs identity an applicants domicile and a crop plants genetic trait are suitable explanatory variables for explain- ing a MSs voting decision. This was done by first testing a MSs identity and then adding explanatory variables. The rationale for using this method is to assess whether voting deci- sions can be explained by factors associated with a MSs characteristics i.e. endogenous factors or whether MS-specific effects pre- vail if explanatory variables based on qualita- tive information e.g. crop type or the crops intended use are added to the model. Theoretically what appears to be a MS-specific effect may in fact reflect a MS-specific concern or opportunity leading respectively to a negative or positive vote. For example Scandinavian MSs tend to accept vote for GE crops but it is unknown whether these MSs voting behaviours are related to lib- eral and open-minded societies or whether the positive votes are associated with for exam- ple factors favouring the MSs bio-economies agricultural and biotech sectors. We use a set of logistic regression models for disentan- gling these factors and for testing if they can be used for explaining the variation in voting behaviours. The analysis shows that a MSs identity i.e. endogenous factors is statistically the most significant factor driving voting behav- iour. Other factors such as a GE crops char- acteristics play an unimportant role i.e. do not influence the voting outcomeall GE crops are seen in the same light in explain- ing MS voting behaviour in the context of our study and assumptions. This empirical find- ing supports the gridlock hypothesis. We have also found an overall positive time trend sug- gesting a persistent but slightly weakening gridlock. We postulate that it is unlikely in the AUTHORISING GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS FIGURE 1. Approval process in the EU for GE crops with a favourable EFSA opinion and a positive draft decision by the EC modified from WESSELER and KALAITZANDONAKES 2011 Present and Future EU GMO policy. In Arie Oskam Gerrit Meesters and Huib Silvis eds. EU Policy for Agriculture Food and Rural Areas. Second Edition pp. 23-323 23-332. Wageningen Wageningen Academic Publishers. A CLOSER LOOK AT THE VOTING BEHAVIOUR OF EU MEMBER STATES. BY JUSTUS WESSELER RICHARD SMART AND MATTHIAS BLUM A REGULATORY GRIDLOCK Applicant NCA EFSA European Commission EC Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health SCFCAH EC AC