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EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 7 foreseeable future for this trend to persist to the point where a qualified majority is reached. CHANGING THE GRIDLOCK We assume that each MS casts its ballot inde- pendently. The only positive contribution toward achieving a qualified majority is a for vote. We therefore scrutinised each ballot for all MSs that prevented a qualified majority namely those that voted against abstained or were absentees. From this subset of voters we found the minimum number of MSs needed to achieve a qualified majority and who they were. In practise we sequentially added MSs votes until a qualified majority could theoretically be achieved. When counting the number of MSs in this subset for ballots in which more than one MS of equal rank vote weight could have con- tributed to the total we counted them all con- sistent with our assumption of independence. Three of the four heavyweight MSs namely France Germany and Italy the UK is the fourth feature prominently in preventing a qualified majority. Since its accession to the EU in May 2004 Poland has become an impor- tant and consistent opponent contributor to the against vote due to its sizeable vote weight while Spain Polands equal in vote weight became a consistent supporter from 2007 onwards. Although the number of ballots with the latest double majority voting rule is low early evidence reveals that the influence of Germany France and Italyin this order on achieving a qualified majority has strength- ened due to their new larger vote weights. VOTING RESULTS NO CHANGE The status quo of not reaching a qualified major- ity is likely to persist unless Germany France and Italy collectively change their positions to a for vote supporting GE crops. The 2015 proposal by the European Commission for MSs to opt out of approvals for cultivation is designed in part to improve the process of authorisations according to the EC i.e. facilitate an increase in the number of GE crops authorised for culti- vation in the EU. According to our results this outcome is unlikely as it would require more MSs to vote in favour of approval. This would require at least two of the three heavyweights France Germany or Italy to change their latest voting behaviour. Importantly it would require them to vote in favour of the most sensi- tive use category namely cultivation. The strong policy signals from Germany and France against cultivation of GE crops further supports our doubts that their voting behaviour will change in the foreseeable future. Italy might be the only heavyweight likely to changethis is based on its histori- cal voting behaviour and demand by some of its pro-biotech farmers to access the tech- nology. Even if the opt-out proposal does not result in a qualified majority for approval the time the EC takes after the voting at the Appeal Committee could shorten as the EC might be under less pressure from MSs to delay a final decision and can therefore justify accepting the European Food Safety Authoritys favourable opinions by indicating MSs that had voted against cultivating GE crops in their countries had in fact opted out anyway. FIGURE 3. The total number of for and against votes cast at the CAC expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible number of votes according to each EU MSs weight for ballots authorizing GE crops from 2004 to 2015 versus the QM threshold. FIGURE 2. The total number of for and against votes cast at the SCFCAH expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible number of votes according to each EU MSs weight for ballots authorizing GE crops from December 2003 to December 2014 versus the QM threshold. Editors Note This contribution is a sum- mary of the paper EU Member States Voting for Authorizing Genetically Engineered Crops A Regulatory Gridlock in the German Journal of Agricultural Economics 64 4 244-262 by Richard Smart Matthias Blum and Justus Wesseler.