Co-existence in the Nordic Countries

Denmark was one of the first countries in the EU to establish a legal co-existence framework. Meanwhile, other Nordic countries are following. The progress is presented in a report by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Due to climatic conditions in the European north, none of the GM crops approved for cultivation in the EU are considered suitable for agriculture in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland or Iceland. Nevertheless, Denmark was one of the first countries to establish co-existence regulations and, with the exception of Iceland, the other Nordic countries now have drafted law proposals at least. In a recent report, the Nordic Council of Ministers summarises the proceedings and compares the varying regulations developed by each country.

According to the report, the regulations show many similarities, although they differ in their basic scope and in their coverage of adhering industries. In 2005, Denmark already enacted a frame law on co-existence and included a compensation fund for non-GM farmers whose crops are affected by out-crossings from GM fields. In April, the first evaluation of the legislation will be complete.

Iceland, in contrast, has not begun even to develop co-existence legislation. However, the other Nordic countries have processed to stages between drafting and enacting: Finland, for example, is expected this year to pass an umbrella law with detailed, crop-specific regulations to follow. In Norway, a draft regulation will be presented before summer. In Sweden, the change of government has delayed co-existence regulation in 2006, but a new draft is anticipated this year.