EU member states back compromise to allow GM crops

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

The European Union tackled deep divisions on genetically modified crops on Wednesday by striking a compromise pact that is likely to make it easier for them to win approval while allowing some countries to ban them.

GM crops, although widely grown in the Americas and Asia, have divided opinion in Europe with strong opposition in many countries including France and Germany.

The deal was welcomed by Britain, which hopes it could allow for more rapid approval of GM crops in the EU, and leading GM opponent France.

"This proposal should help unblock the dysfunctional EU process for approving GM crops for cultivation," Britain's farming and environment ministry said in a statement.

"We want a regime which allows GM crops to be grown when they have passed a robust, science-based safety assessment," the statement added.

France's agriculture ministry also welcomed the "good news", which coincided with a decision by the French constitutional court to uphold a domestic ban on GM maize.

Leading member state Germany praised the deal for allow opt-outs, saying it opened the way for a formal ban in Germany.

"The viewpoint of the people in Europe differs greatly on this matter and this earns respect," German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said in a statement.

Wednesday's closed-door meeting almost unanimously supported the compromise, diplomats said, with only Belgium abstaining, meaning it is set to get formal approval at a meeting of EU ministers next month in Luxembourg.

After that it would need the backing of the newly elected European Parliament later this year.

Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent said the Commission was "cautiously optimistic", adding that a new law could be officially adopted either later this year or early next year.

TOO MUCH POWER?

Under the proposal, member states who disagree with GM cultivation have to ask the Commission to ask companies to exclude them from requests for authorisation for new crops, rather than directly approaching the companies.

A spokesman for Greece, holder of the rotating EU presidency, which put forward the compromise text, said the requirement that a member state has to make a request via the Commission would ensure maximum legal certainty, while still giving countries the right to refuse GM cultivation.

But environmental campaigners said it gave too much power to companies.

"Governments must be able to ban unwanted and risky GM crops without needing the permission of the companies who profit from them," Adrian Bebb, food campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe, said.

Representatives of the biotech industry were also unhappy with the compromise, which they said could allow crops to be blocked on "non-scientific grounds".

"To renationalise a common policy, based on non-objective grounds, is a negative precedent and contrary to the spirit of the single market," said André Goig, Chair of EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries.

So far EU authorities have only approved two GM crops for commercial cultivation and one of them was later blocked by a court.

Earlier this year, European Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said he was legally obliged to approve a new strain of genetically modified maize Pioneer 1507, developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical.

The approval is expected even though 19 of the 28 EU countries opposed approval because under the bloc's weighted voting system that was not enough to reject the crop.

A Commission spokesman on Wednesday said the Commission had yet to decide when Pioneer 1507 would be authorized.


Prev 1 2 Next All



Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


Tube Series (TS) Conveyors

USC’s Tube Series Conveyors combine the gentleness of the signature Seed Series with the traditional stability of a tube-style conveyor, ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form