Call for action by Seeds4All partner association ARCHE NOAH, April 2024

At the invitation of ARCHE NOAH, a group of seed savers incl. Seeds4All, gathered outside Parliament last 22 February to meet MEPs Sarah Wiener, Martin Hausling and Herbet Dorfmann © Thierry Monasse

Until April 17 (1PM CET) MEPs have had the opportunity to table new amendments to the position adopted by ENVI and AGRI on March 11 and 19. We expect these amendments to be published on Friday 19.

We know that many of the positive changes for diversity that were voted for by Com AGRI will be challenged in plenary by these new amendments, e.g. Euroseeds very openly calls on the plenary to change course and introduce restrictions and controls on diversity. See their PR here.

At the vote on 24 April, these amendments will be voted first, afterwards the COM AGRI report. This means that theoretically everything that has been agreed on in the Com AGRI report can still be changed.

It is therefore crucial before plenary to:

  • Counter fake news which currently get spread about seed diversity being dangerous for plant health, quality, etc. Explain that diverse seeds have different, but very important quality characteristics, such as being adaptable to local or changing climatic conditions. That changes to the scope of the seed marketing rules will not affect the very strict plant health obligations, which continue to apply. That all openings for diverse seeds create new choices for farmers, no one is forced to use those, etc.
  • Make sure there is enough support for the important changes proposed by Com Agri and against any tries to restrict conservation work, limit the options for seed diversity or restrict farmers rights

What can be done?

Remember that as farmers, gardeners, food producers, activists, citizens: you definitely have your say! MEPs work for us, their first commitment is to listen to voters – and especially in the current pre-electoral context, rest assured that they are keen to show they’re listening!

1. Send general email to all MEPs reminding them about the importance of diversity and your core demands:

  • Refer to the plenary vote (date = April 24) and the name of regulation (Production and marketing of plant reproductive material in the Union)
  • Explain why this vote is important (for farmers, for diversity, for the environment, ect, you choose the focus)
  • Name your core demands (3-5 sentences is enough)
  • We mostly need to convince MEPs from EPP, Renew and S&D. Try to appeal to their language and values (eg. facilitating new choices, supporting farmers, no unneeded bureaucracy, etc...)
  • We will send you a mailing with our next mail on Monday/Tuesday (as the list doesn’t allow two “bigger” attachments at the same time)
  • Also consider asking for a meeting to discuss the topic with the MEP (only by asking for it, without further insisting via calls you usually don’t get many/any meetings, but it signals that this is important and you might get to have some exchange with MEPs)

Important: Focus on the big message, keep it simple – most MEPs have not dealt with the PRM file and have no good knowledge about it.

Option: only write to the MEPs of your country in your language if you feel more comfortable to do so!

When to carry on this action: from now to April 23.

2. Call MEPs from your country to talk to them about the most crucial votes

After you have sent your concerns by email, call MEPs to check if they got them (usually yes) and if they have read them (usually no). Talk them through the most important points and ask them how they will vote. If you can’t reach the MEPs ask for the assistant working on the AGRI files.

You can find their phone numbers on the EP website - call them in Brussels until Friday 19 or in Strasbourg starting from Monday 22.

You can change the 45 in the last block of the number to 47 to reach the assistants (via this numbers more often someone picks up). For example: For MEP, call = 0032.2.28.45xxx ; for his/her assistant, call = 0032.2.28.47xxx.

When to carryon on this action: from now to April 19 / 22.