Political Posturing or Real Powers: Control of Genetically Modified Crops by the Member States and their Regions

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in the EU is highly harmonised, involving a central authorisation procedure that aims to ensure a high level of environmental and human health protection. However conflicts over authority persist and the Commission has responded to a combination of internal and external pressures with a more flexible approach to coexistence, a proposed opt-out clause and recently a promise by the head of the Commission to review the existing EU GM legislative regime, providing an opportunity to consider and suggest paths of development. In light of the significance of multilevel governance and subsidiarity for GM cultivation, this paper considers the policy-making powers of the Member States and subnational regions in this regime, focussing upon post-authorisation options in particular. A number of core mechanisms exist, including voluntary measures, safeguard clauses, coexistence measures, a proposed express opt-out and Article 4(2) TEU on ‘national identity. These mechanisms are examined in light of the goals and challenges of multilevel governance, in order to consider whether the relevant powers are located at the appropriate level. Overall, it is apparent that the developments occurring at the EU level are strengthening multilevel governance, but with significant opportunities to improve it further through focussing on the supporting roles and the regional levels in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 09 Sep 2014
EventSLS Conference 2014 - Nottingham University, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 09 Sep 201412 Sep 2014


ConferenceSLS Conference 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • environmental law
  • multilevel governance
  • GMOs
  • genetically modified organisms
  • subsidiarity


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