Lower Saxony: New government coalition for freedom from genetic engineering

- The new “Red-Green” government of German state Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) has committed itself to freedom from genetic engineering in its coalition agreement. This is a good signal from this agricultural state.

Designated State Minister of Agriculture Miriam Staudte, photo: Sven Brauers

The Red-Green government wants to keep Lower Saxony free of genetic engineering, the coalition partners announced in their agreement. Genetic engineering cultivation and research are not to be funded by the state. In addition, the important agricultural state wants to work towards the implementation of the EU's so-called "opt-out directive" on the national level, something that has been overdue for many years and allows for national bans on the cultivation of genetic engineering.

Miriam Staudte (Greens) to become new Minister of Agriculture

As the new Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Miriam Staudte (Greens) will be in charge of this issue. Her pre-predecessor in this office, party colleague Christian Meyer, will also have substantive points of contact in the new government as Minister for the Environment and Climate Protection. During his term of office in the last Red-Green coalition from 2013 to 2017, Lower Saxony had already joined the Alliance of GMO-Free Regions.

Important signal beyond Lower Saxony

"The clear commitment to GMO-freedom from one of the most important agricultural states is a very gratifying signal beyond Lower Saxony," comments VLOG Managing Director Alexander Hissting. "The German states play a decisive role in matters of genetic engineering when it becomes concrete. Lower Saxony can now help to ensure that the monitoring of seeds, feed and food also checks for contamination with illegal new genetic engineering as quickly as possible."

Through the German Bundesrat, the second Parliamentary chamber, the states also have an influence on federal policy decisions, and thus ultimately also on EU policy. "Miriam Staudte, and the new Red-Green coalition in Lower Saxony, can and should actively support the federal government in averting the genetic engineering deregulation planned by the EU Commission," said Alexander Hissting.

Excerpt from the Lower Saxony coalition agreement on genetic engineering (pp. 51-52):

"Under the previous Red-Green coalition, Lower Saxony joined the Alliance of GMO-Free Regions. We want to keep Lower Saxony free of genetic engineering. We reject the promotion of the cultivation of or research into green genetic engineering with state funds. In this context, we will advocate at the federal level for a national implementation of the opt-out directive, which allows EU member states to prohibit the release of genetically modified organisms on their territories."

"Being safe in times of change" Coalition agreement SPD-Greens 2022 (in German)

NDR: This is the new government of Lower Saxony (in German)