Both in Flanders and Wallonia, legal frameworks on co-existence are being developed. In both cases, new decrees are being drafted that have to pass through the regional parliaments.
On 10 October 2008, the Flanders government approved its final proposal for a co-existence decree. The decree is now being forwarded to the Flanders parliament which will discuss it first in its agriculture commission, and later in its plenary.
This final proposal contains only a few minor alterations, especially in the explanatory note, compared to earlier versions. These alterations were taken up following discussions with the European Commission and a legal advice of the Council of State.
The draft decree had been notified to the European Commission and was further adjusted after receiving some comments from the Commission, making it now in line with the European Union policy on co-existence.
It is expected that the draft decree will be discussed in the Flanders parliament in the last quarter of 2008 with the goal to finish this piece of legislation before the next elections in Flanders in June 2009.
A few additional executive decrees have also been drafted, one of which is on practical co-existence measures for maize.
In August 2008, the Walloon region has published a co-existence decree. The decree is one of the more stringent pieces of co-existence legislation in Europe. Its explicit goal is to “maximally protect conventional and organic agriculture from the involuntary dissemination of genetically modified crops”. This decree makes the growing of GM crops very difficult. Major features of the decree are:
While similar principles are part of co-existence legal frameworks in other countries, the Walloon decree applies even stricter conditions.
The decree is currently only available in French and can be downloaded from the Walloon parliamentary pages.
After the publication of the co-existence decree in August 2008, the Walloon region has announced that it wants to become a member of the network of European GM free regions, hereby publicly reiterating its policy to strongly discourage the use of GMOs in its agriculture.