Congress Theme


The EU Green Deal and its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies:

can plant breeding and seed innovation deliver?


The EU Green Deal and its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies stipulate ambitious policy objectives that shall fundamentally impact agricultural businesses and value chains. Are these objectives realistic? And how do they fit with the EU’s policies on food security, the Internal Market, international trade and multilateral economic agreements? As significant conflicts of goals become apparent, the discussion on expectations, preconditions and consequences is now starting.

Euroseeds looks at those individual aspects that together will be decisive for the ability of the plant breeding and seed innovation sector to successfully contribute to a truly sustainable Green Deal.


Sunday, 11.10.2020

Monday, 12.10.2020

Intellectual Property Rights

Fostering investment of industry in technologies and products that promote sustainability requires effective protection of such investment, specifically by suitable IP rights. At the same time, fast and broad market introduction of respective products relies on the practical access to such protected innovations. The session will specifically address the delicate balance between these different needs and interests:

“No protection, no investment – no access, no innovation”

The road to rule 28.2:

where we came from, where we are, and where we go with patenting

  • Overview and introduction by Szonja Csörgő, Director IP and Legal Affairs, Euroseeds
  • Recent developments and implementation by the EPO by Heli Pihlajamaa, Director Patent Law, European Patent Office and Francisco Fernandez Brañas, Head of Biotech Examination, European Patent Office
  • Q & A session

The value of Plant Breeders’ Rights:

a new study by the European Union Intellectual Property Observatory


  • Introduction by Szonja Csörgő, Director IP And Legal Affairs, Euroseeds
  • Presentation of draft Terms of Reference of the study by Francisco Garcia-Valero, Economist, EU  Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights 
  • Panel debate moderated by Marcel Bruins, Editorial Director EuropeanSeed with presenters and:

           Martin Ekvad, President, Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)

           Micaela Filippo, Legal Counsel, CIOPORA

           Peter Button, Vice Secretary General, International Union for the New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)

Section specific subjects

Hybrid wheat


  • Robert Hiles, Seeds Business Sustainability Lead EAME, Syngenta
Plant Breeding Innovation

New technologies and innovative products may help to speed up the introduction of traits that support different sustainability criteria. But clearly, this also depends on possible regulatory, financial or other barriers that influence the uptake of such new methods by product developers and users. This session will provide an overview on both, the level of penetration some of the new technologies have meanwhile reached and what seems to hold back even faster market introduction:

“Innovation from Farm to Fork: A (Green) Deal or a “No Deal”?”

 Euroseeds survey on opportunities and restrictions

of use of the latest breeding methods

  • Presentation of Euroseeds survey results by Petra Jorasch, Manager Plant Breeding Innovation Advocacy, Euroseeds
  • Comment by Thorben Sprink, Scientific Group Leader, Julius Kühn-Institute for Plant Breeding

French draft decree on in-vitro mutagenesis

  • Legal and political context in France: Olivier Lucas, Chair UFS Working Group PBI
  • EU level action: Petra Jorasch, Manager Plant Breeding Innovation Advocacy, Euroseeds
  • Comment by Georg Leggewie, Biosafety Expert, Federal Office Consumer Protection & Food Safety, Germany

 The EU’s Protein Plan – another “strategic autonomy”?

Introduction by Justyna Wrobel, Coordinator for cereals, oilseeds and proetin crops, DG AGRI European Commission

Comments from

  • Virginie Bortolussi, Global Program Leader Corteva, and Christian Jensen, Head of Biotech DLF
  • Max Schulman, Farmer, Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MKT), Finland
  • Amrit Nanda, Executive Manager European Technology Platform
  • Joao Pacheco, Farm Europe

Section specific subjects: Market developments

  • Oil SeedRape: Xavier Tayot, Head of Development & Portfolio Management, Limagrain
  • Sunflower: Gilles Gree, EAME Sunflower Portfolio Development Lead, Syngenta
  • Soybean: François Paybou, OMarket & Product Manager, Euralis
Organic Farming

In the Green Deal, the Commission emphasizes the need to develop a more sustainable food production system and has defined the increase of organic production to 25% of the EU’s total acreage as a pillar of its implementing strategy. This session will look at the drivers and limitations of the further development of organic farming:

“Give me 25! Making Organic Farming mainstream – or better not?”

Introduction by César González, Manager Public Affairs, Euroseeds

Panel debate moderated by Marcel Bruins, Editorial Director EuropeanSeed with presenter and:

  • Thomas Weber, DG SANTE European Commission
  • Martin Sommer, Policy Coordinator at IFOAM Europe
  • Lone Andersen, Chair COPA-COGECA Working Party Organic Farming
  • Jaime Prohens, Researcher Universitat Politècnica de València, H2020 BRESOV project
  • Harold Verstegen, Head of Breeding Cereals, OilSeedRape, Special crops and Organic, KWS

OECD: update on latest developments by Csaba Gaspar, Programme Manager OECD


 Section specific subjects

        Monitoring of illegal seed activities and EU Seed Fraud Network

  • Nils Elmegaard, chairman ad-hoc working group ‘Monitoring illegal seed activities’, Euroseeds
  • Javier Ruiz Santaellea Moreno, DG SANTE European Commission
Pesticides and nutrients

Reducing pesticide and fertilizer use by 50% and 30% respectively are probably the most cited concrete objectives of Green Deal and its implementing strategies. This session will try to shed light on whether we can balance these goals with those of plant health and food security and what concrete measures may help to support such balance:

“Getting more from less”
« How to support a reduction of pesticide and fertilizer use without losing out on food security and safety”
  • The EU objectives and their implementation: overview presentation by Andrew Owen Griffiths, Health and Food Audits and Analysis Directorate, DG SANTE European Commission


Panel debate moderated by Steve Gillman, IHS Markit, with presenter and

  • Annabelle Williams, Managing Director RISE Foundation
  • Géraldine Kutas, Director European Crop Protection Association
  • Pedro Gallardo, Vice-President COPA and Chair COPA-COGECA Working Party on Phytosanitary issues
  • Klaus Schlünder, Chair Euroseeds WG Seed Treatment and Technologies

EU research project INVITE on modernisation of DUS and VCU testing: some explanation on data supply and protection

  • Cecile Colonnier, Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), Expert Biomolecular Techniques

Section Specific Subjects

Corn and Sorghum: market and trade overview

  • Pierre Guillaumin, Fédération Nationale de la Production de Semences de Maïs & Sorgho

Tuesday, 13.10.2020

Seed security and seed diversity (1)

More than half of all productivity gains across crops is due to improved genetics and this share is expected to grow even further. The Commission has defined seed security and diversity as a specific goal for the Farm-to-Fork strategy. This session will relate this goal to the on-going evaluation of the EU’s seed marketing legislation, concentrating on the expectations and needs of professional seed users and seed suppliers:

“Quality seed for professional use »

Seed as key input for commercial farming

  • History and background to current evaluation by Päivi Mannerkorpi, Head of Sector, DG SANTE European Commission

Discussion moderated by Jean Paul Judson, NowMore EU with comments from:

  • Thor Kofoed, Chair COPA-COGECA Working Party Seeds
  • Nigel Moore, Chair Euroseeds WG Variety Testing and Registration
  • Peter Button, Vice Secretary General UPOV
  • Martin Ekvad, President CPVO

Section specific subjects

Latest development following the trade restrictions imposed by Russia: Tigran Richter, Norika

Seed security and seed diversity (2)

Building upon the discussion in the earlier morning session, the debate here will focus on possible specific needs or constraints of the seed supply for non-commercial users such as private and hobby gardeners. Is there really an issue with the availability of suitable seed? And if so, which parts of the existing rules have limited the development of supply and use of such material?

“Quality seed for private use”
Is there a need for new rules for hobby gardeners?
  • An introduction to seed diversity and current EU rules

          Thomas Weber, DG SANTE, European Commission,

Discussion with

  • Kate McEntaggart, ICF (EU Commission contractor for study)
  • Rolf Pohlen, Manager Supply, Bruno Nebelung GmbH
  • Bert van der Lugt, Plantise B.V.

moderated by Jean Paul Judson, NowMore EU

Increasing diversity for food and agriculture: the EU Farmers Pride project 

  • Presentation by Shelagh Kell,  Project Manager, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Comment by Szonja Csörgő, Director IP and Legal Affairs, Euroseeds

Section specific subject

 BRESOV project on improving organic vegetable seed production: update

  • Amelie Detterbeck, Research Project Manager, Euroseeds

Based on the presentations and exchanges in the different sessions, the discussion in the Assembly General will try to look at the overall direction of the EU’s Green Deal, how realistic its objectives really are, and what means may be at the EU’s disposal to resolve some of the conflicts of goals with other strategic policy priorities.

What is it that the seed sector is expected to contribute to this? And what does it need to live up to those expectations?

“Making the Green Deal work for agriculture and the environment”
(how) can plant breeding and seed innovation deliver?

Setting the scene

  • The EU Green Deal and world trends in agriculture and food production: Jeckyll and Hyde?

         Prof. Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, Food Program, World Resources Institute, USA

Panel debate

moderated by former MEP and COMAGRI Member George Lyon, HumeBrophy

  • Dorothée André, Head of Unit Plant Health, DG SANTE European Commission
  • Paolo de Castro, MEP; Coordinator S&D Group, COMAGRI, European Parliament
  • Prof. Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, Food Program, World Resources Institute, USA
  • Frederik Roeder, Consumer Choice Centre
  • Jannes Maes, President CEJA
  • Régis Fournier, President Euroseeds

Closing remarks by Garlich v. Essen, Euroseeds