Hungary regards the regulation of activities related to genetically modified organisms and the GMO-free status of the Hungarian agriculture as a priority strategic issue. Accordingly, Hungary developed its GMO-free strategy in 2006 along with the implementation process required for the realisation of its objectives with the agreement of all five parliamentary parties at that time [Parliamentary Resolution 53/2006 (XI.29)]. This strategy has not changed since then, moreover, Article XX of our new Fundamental Law being 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 legal act in Hungary to include provisions on genetically modified organisms. Paragraph 9 of the previously mentioned act declares that the creation of such organisms, the experiments with them, their cultivation and their importing to or exporting from the country may only occur in line with certain conditions specified by a separate law.

Hungary was the first country in Central-Eastern Europe to adopt individual legislation regulating gene technology activities (Act XXVII of 1998 on gene technology activities, hereinafter referred to as the “Gene Technology Act”). According to the Gene Technology Act, all gene technology activities are subject to authorisation.

To ensure consistency with European Union legislation and to achieve more efficient regulation of certain issues, the Parliament has amended the Act on several occasions since its adoption, thus helping the realisation of the objectives of the above mentioned Parliamentary Resolution that came into force in 2006. The Gene Technology Act also ensures that the genetically modified plants that are currently authorised within the European Union (MON810 GM maize and Amflora GM potato; the latter was withdrawn from the market after two years because of the judgement of the European Court of Justice on the Amflora court case launched by Hungary.) and genetically modified plants that may be authorised in future by the European Union cannot be cultivated in Hungary without restrictions. The last amendment of the Gene Technology Act in 2012 provides greater protection for people who make a living from traditional and ecological farming, and the protection of gene banks is an important element of the regulation as well.

The provisions of European Union Directives on genetically modified organisms have been transposed into the Gene Technology Act and other related domestic legislations. On the other hand, the EU regulations on GMOs shall be applied directly in Hungary since the accession of the country to the EU in 2004.

More information on legislation, regulations and parliamentary resolutions that regulate gene technology activities can be found by clicking the "Related legislation" link below.