Agreement on the differences in the Gene Technology Act
During the winter session, the Council of States had decided to exempt genetically modified organisms that have not had foreign DNA inserted into them from the moratorium on genetic engineering. This went too far for the National Council. Its advisory committee now proposes that the Federal Council submit a draft decree to the Federal Assembly by mid-2024 at the latest for a risk-based authorisation regulation for the new breeding technologies such as CRISPR/Cas. In doing so, it wants to keep the door open for these technologies. Within the framework of the so-called "resolution of differences" (Differenzbereinigungsverfahren - see box), the National Council and the Council of States must find a solution that can be accepted by both. On 2 March it is the turn of the National Council, on 8 March the Council of States.
Resolution of differences
The National Council and the Council of States have equal rights. Laws must therefore be passed by both Councils. If the resolutions of the National Council and the Council of States differ, the procedure for the settlement of differences begins. The resolutions go back and forth between the two Councils until they reach an agreement. If there are still differences after three consultations, a conciliation conference is held. There, 13 members each from the National Council and the Council of States search for a joint solution. If no such solution is found or if it is rejected in one of the two councils, the bill has failed.