3:3 on genetic engineering in "Bundestag" election manifestos
CDU-CSU in favor of new genetic engineering
The currently governing CDU-CSU party Union has traditionally published its program quite late and without the participation of the grassroots and the public in the creation process. The words "genetic engineering" do not appear in it; instead, there is a renaissance of the obfuscation term "new molecular biological breeding technologies" - which means nothing other than new genetic engineering. The Union sees potential in this for environmental protection and competitiveness and would like to enable its use - through a "modernization of the European legal framework", meaning deregulation for new genetic engineering. The only minor reservation is that its use should be "responsible" and "based on clear rules". The current Minister of Agriculture (CDU), Julia Klöckner, has recently made similar statements, although she usually refers to new genetic engineering at least by name.
Social Democrats (SPD): No to genetically modified plants
The SPD, which is still a coalition partner of the Union, deals with the issue very briefly, but all the more clearly: "We will continue to say No to genetically modified plants," states the party's "Future Agenda". According to statements by politicians and SPD’s Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, the Social Democrats clearly also mean new genetic engineering.
Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) in favor of regulation and labeling of new genetic engineering
The Greens Party has dealt with genetic engineering most extensively in their election program. In it, they clearly commit themselves to the regulation and labeling of old and new genetic engineering. GMO-free production and consumers' freedom of choice are to be protected. However, freedom of research should continue to be guaranteed in the area of genetic engineering. The party wants to strengthen in particular research on risk and detection.
The Left Party (Die Linke) wants to ban genetic engineering cultivation, trade and imports
According to its election manifesto, the Left Party wants to ban the cultivation, trade and import of genetically modified plants, and explicitly mentions "new genetic engineering processes". GMO-free organic and conventional breeding is to be strengthened with more research funding. The Left Party is thus the most radical anti-GMO party.
The Liberals (FDP) unreservedly support old and new genetic engineering methods
Not surprisingly, the FDP, like the CDU-CSU, emphasizes what it sees as the great potential of genetic engineering for biodiversity, soil and efficiency, and is fully committed to its use - and not just in relation to new genetic engineering methods. The FDP describes the demand for deregulation as "current and science-based approval criteria" which, according to it, should apply to it. There is no mention of caution, responsibility or precaution. Thus, the FDP is still the most radical pro-genetic engineering party.
AfD also sees benefits in genetic engineering
The AfD also supports genetic engineering. This far-right party wants to launch an "educational initiative" on the "benefits that are already visible today". And genetic engineering deregulation is also hinted at - the AfD wants to "create a pragmatic regulatory framework" for this.
Hissting: "The topic of genetic engineering is more relevant than it has been for a long time"
"Above all, it is good that all relevant political parties have clearly taken a position on genetic engineering. This shows: the topic is still important, and due to the current debate about the future EU regulation, especially of new genetic engineering methods such as CRISPR, it is even more relevant than it has been for a long time. The new German government will have to show its colors on the EU level as to whether consumer protection and the precautionary principle, ’Ohne Gentechnik‘ [Non-GMO] and the organic sector, or the interests of the seed companies and chemical giants weigh in more heavily in its opinion,“ comments VLOG Managing Director Alexander Hissting.
The statements on genetic engineering in the election agendas are clear and speak for themselves. Anyone who cares about transparency and freedom from genetic engineering as a voter can take a good look at them.
The wording of the genetic engineering sections of the election agendas
"Using new technologies to farm in an ecological way more productively
Digitalization and new molecular-biological breeding technologies can make agriculture more environmentally friendly and more competitive, keeping harvests stable with less pesticide use and lower water consumption in a changing climate. This is also about our responsibility in the world.
• We want to enable a responsible use of the new breeding technologies based on clear rules. We are therefore committed to modernizing the European legal framework."
The agenda for stability and renewal. Together for a modern Germany. [in German] published 21 June 2021
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
"Our guiding principle is an ecological agriculture that will keep developing based on its principles of animal justice, freedom from genetic engineering and freedom from chemical-synthetic pesticides.
Diverse seeds without patents
Diverse, equitable and sustainable agriculture starts with seeds. In light of the climate and biodiversity crisis, we want to advance the breeding of robust varieties and research for organic seeds, as well as strengthen research into alternative approaches that rely on traditional and organic breeding methods. As with any technology, the handling of both old and new genetic engineering methods must ensure the freedom of research on the one hand, and on the other, exclude risks to humans and the environment during application. The focus is not on the technology itself, but on its opportunities, risks and consequences. We will therefore adhere to a strict approval procedure and the precautionary principle anchored in European law. This requires risk assessments on a comprehensive scientific basis, regulation that prevents uncontrollable spread, and binding labeling that protects GMO-free production and consumers' freedom of choice. Accordingly, risk and detection research needs to be strengthened. We want to align patent law in such a way that there are no more patents on living organisms and their genetic makeup.
In the case of interventions in nature, irresponsible risks, such as the manipulation or extinction of entire populations or species by genetic engineering methods, so-called gene drives, must be excluded."
Germany. Everything is in it. [in German] published 13 June 2021
SPD - Social Democrats
"We stand by our No to genetically modified crops."
Out of respect for your future. [in German] published 09 May 2021
The Left – DIE LINKE
"DIE LINKE wants to ban patents on life. To safeguard genetic diversity, old plant varieties and animal breeds should be preserved and free reproduction rights secured. We want to strengthen GMO-free classical and organic breeding with higher research funding. We want to ban the cultivation of and trade in genetically modified plants, including those derived from new genetic engineering processes. Animal cloning must remain prohibited. We want labeling of imported food produced from cloned animals and their offspring. We want to ban the cultivation and trade in, as well as the import of, genetically modified plants. We want to advocate for a global moratorium on the release of gene drive organisms."
Time to act! For social security, peace and climate justice. [in German] published 20 June 2021
FDP - Liberals
"Sustainable agriculture through new technologies.
We Free Democrats want technological openness for the sustainable agriculture of the future. Therefore, current and scientifically based approval criteria must apply to genetically modified crops. Green genetic engineering opens up new possibilities for conserving soils, promoting biodiversity and increasing the efficiency of input use."
There has never been more to do. [in German] adopted at party conference 14-16 May 2021
"We want to launch an educational initiative about the benefits of genetic engineering that are already visible today and create a pragmatic regulatory framework for this technology."
Germany. But normal. [in German] voted on at a party convention on 10 April 2021, published on 20 May 2021