Co-Existence measures

Co-existence measures and legal aspects

The use of GMOs is governed in Spain by three laws on national level, as well as by several regional laws. The government has presented a draft regulation on co-existence, but it has not yet been notified to the EU.

Co-existence legislation is on its way.
Co-existence legislation is on its way.
Legal framework

On 19 July 2005, the draft of the Royal Decree on Co-existence was presented by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Food, and this document is now being discussed. The law responds to the actual situation, which began more than eight years ago and during which problems have not been documented, and refers to the ability of farmers to choose between production of organic, conventional, or GM cultivation.

In the case of maize, for example, co-existence would have required a distance of 50 meters and four rows of isolation, ensuring that accidental mixing between GMO and conventional cultures stays below the thresholds established in EU legislation.

The draft also contemplates the organisation of information programs for farmers, as well as contemplating recommendations for the control of adventitious plants and for the handling of seeds of conventional varieties. In July 2006, the Government presented the second version of the draft of the Royal Decree which, compared with the previous version, shows some changes: for example, that separation distances between GM and non-GM crops must be 220 metres instead of 50 metres. And Farmers must register GMO cultivation plans in a register.

Liability for economic damages

No special regulations have been installed for the liability for economic damages caused by GMOs. The relevant legal framework is provided by the legislation concerning general civil liability.

Enforcement of compliance

At least once during the cultivation period, the autonomous regions should inspect a percentage, set by the Royal Law, of fields seeded with GMOs. This inspection will ensure compliance with regulations on isolation distances, the use of seeds, and good agricultural practice. To verify the adequate use of harvesters, as well as the physical separation and labelling of batches for diverse destinies, a second inspection will take place during harvest.


To carry out the supervision, and control, of all the aspects of co-existence, both ministries will devise a yearly National Supervision Plan. This plan will include all controls and analyses required to survey and evaluate of the co-existence legislation, and will include controls and analyses for the cultivation and commercialisation of products. To verify the success of the installed measures, the plan will also provide guidelines to monitor the presence of GMOs in cultivated or non-cultivated zones adjacent to GMO fields.

Regional Co-extra reporter /rapporteur:

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