In line with Directive 2001/18/EC, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that national authorities may not block the disclosure to third parties of the location(s) where genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been deliberately introduced within the Community. This ruling is in response to a referral submitted by the French Conseil d’État concerning whether national authorities may prevent such disclosure in order to ensure public order and other interests protected by law.

Directive 2001/18/EC governs the deliberate introduction of GMOs into the environment. It requires that persons wishing to release GMOs provide advance notification to competent national authorities unless an exemption applies. These notifications consist of a detailed technical dossier including the grid reference of the release site(s). The Directive also requires that national authorities protect confidential information contained in the notification.

In reaching its ruling, the ECJ referred specifically to the provisions of Article 25(4) of the Directive, which explicitly provide that the location of release may not be kept confidential. The ECJ also referred to two of its previous judgments, which found that a Member State may not rely on internal difficulties to justify its failure to comply with Community law