b"CHANGING EUROPES COURSEA EUROPEAN CITIZENS INITIATIVE ON PLANT BREEDING INNOVATIONBY: MARCEL BRUINSW e have seen the result ofthe outdated legislation on plant breedingtoWith this comprehensive analy-young people taking initia- in the EU. sis of the EU GMO legislation, we came tive: whether battling climateWe founded the initiative as athe conclusion that the legislation change or taking on humangroup of nine Master students fromin the EU is too restrictive to allow for rights, there is no doubt that every sectoreight different EU member states: Italy,much needed scientific progress, said has or will be affected by a young genera- Austria, Germany, Spain, Portugal, theHelmlinger. After talking with other tion of forward thinkers who are looking toNetherlands, Croatia and Greece. Ourlike-minded Master students with differ-the future and want to see change. group has since then expanded, andent disciplinary backgrounds, we decided It looks like the seed sector is no dif- we are now a group of 17 students,to get more active. We found out about the ferent. explained Lavinia Scudiero, a veteri- European Citizens Initiative as one feasi-Grow Scientific Progress is a citi- narian currently pursuing a Master's inble, democratic way, which requires to set zens initiative looking for the EU to focusFood Safety Law and Regulatory Affairs.up a committee of citizens resident in at on sustainability, safety and responsibleScudiero co-founded the initiative withleast seven EU Member States. The inter-innovation when it comes to new plantnine others, with the aim to implement innational environment at WUR proved to breeding techniques. They are composedthe EU more progressive and sustainablebe helpful in this endeavour, and we rap-of a group of young Master's students fromfarming practices. idly put together our committee.eight EU member states who met duringThe initiative started out as a courseIt took about six months to explore their studies at Wageningen Universityassignment at Wageningen University andseveral legal options, to inspect different and Research. This initiative was startedResearch, where Scudiero and Martinaopinions and to draft a legal proposal to to foster responsible agricultural innova- Helmlinger, who is studying Safety insubmit with the European Commission tion in the EU. With backgrounds in foodthe Food Chain with a Food Law special- last May. On the 25 July 2019, their initi-safety, food law, environmental studies,isation, analysed the legal debate aroundative and the proposal were then officially plant sciences, economics and biotech- new plant breeding techniques after theregistered by the Commission.nology, they have joined forces to urge therecent EU Court of Justice ruling onThegrouphasexpanded,cur-European Commission to act to improvemutagenesis techniques. rently with 17 students from different 28IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM"