Hungary regards the regulation of activities relating to genetically modified organisms and the GMO-free status of Hungarian agriculture as especially important strategic issues. Accordingly, in 2006 Hungary developed its GMO-free strategy and the process required for the realisation of its objectives, with the agreement of all five of the parliamentary parties at the time [Parliamentary Resolution 53/2006 (XI.29)]. This strategy has not changed since that time, and in fact Article XX of our new Fundamental Law, in force since 1 January 2012, declares that:

"Article XX
(1) Everyone shall have the right to physical and mental health.
(2) Hungary shall promote the exercise of the right set out in Paragraph (1) by ensuring that its agriculture remains free from any genetically modified organism, by providing access to healthy food and drinking water, by managing industrial safety and healthcare, by supporting sports and regular physical exercise, and by ensuring environmental protection."

Act LIII of 1996 on nature conservation was the first in Hungary to include provisions on genetically modified organisms. Paragraph 9 of the Act declared that the creation of such organisms, the conduction of experiments with them, their cultivation and their importing to or exporting from the country may only occur according to certain conditions as specified by law.

It was based on this that Hungary was the first country in Central-Eastern Europe to adopt legislation regulating gene technology activities (Act XXVII of 1998 on gene technology activities: hereafter the Gene Technology Act). According to the Gene Technology Act, all gene technology activities are subject to authorisation.

In the interests of harmonising with European Union regulations and the more efficient regulation of certain issues, Parliament has amended the Act on several occasions since its adoption, thus facilitating the realisation of the objectives of the Parliamentary Resolution brought in 2006 with five-party agreement, and ensuring that the genetically modified plants that are currently authorised within the European Union (MON810 GM maize and Amflora GM potato), and genetically modified plants that may be authorised in future by the European Union cannot be cultivated in Hungary without restrictions. The 2012 amendment to the Act provides greater protection for people who make a living from traditional and ecological farming, and another of its important elements is the protection of gene banks.

The provisions of EU Directives on genetically modified organisms have been transposed into the Gene Technology Act and other related domestic legislations, in addition to which, since our accession to the European Union, EU regulations on GMOs must also be applied directly in Hungary.

Information on legislation, regulations and parliamentary resolutions that regulate gene technology activities can be accessed by clicking on the "Related Legislation" link below.

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