Brussels, International — Ministers are discussing a plan tabled by the Commission that it claims will allow EU member states to ban GM crops on their territory. But EU legal experts have questioned the legal strength of these bans, exposing the Commission’s intentions to use the proposal to circumvent national opposition to GM crops and concerns on their effects.
The Commission plan fails to address the long-standing criticism by European countries and independent scientists about the current EU safety assessments of GM crops. 
Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: "EU countries shouldn't be duped into accepting the proposal as it stands and taking the pressure off the Commission to improve crop safety and prevent GM contamination. Unless safety testing is improved, the Commission will authorise a raft of new GM crops that have not been properly tested. Until Europeans and farmers can be sure that the dangers of GM crops are thoroughly addressed, EU ministers should demand a moratorium on new authorisations."
The Commission proposal also fails to protect Europe's food and farming from GM contamination. Last week, the Commission threatened to steam ahead with unilateral authorisations of GM crops  while European countries are still discussing new rules and as a rush of contamination cases hits farmers and food producers across Europe. 
 Environment ministers unanimously called on the Commission to ensure that its scientific advisory body, the European Food Safety Authority, properly assesses the long-term environmental effects of GM crops. They also called for thorough independent research on GM risks and assessments of the effects of GM crops on different European ecosystems. See: Council of the European Union 2008: Council Conclusions on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), 2912th Environment Council meeting, Brussels, 4 December 2008. http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st16/st16882.en08.pdf
 Reuters (20 September 2010): http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68J11820100920
 Earlier this month, an illegal and untested GM potato was found to have contaminated agricultural fields in Sweden (http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/press-releases2/illegal-gm-potato-discovered-g). This follows an almost identical case in which thousands of hectares of unauthorised GM maize had to be destroyed after being grown illegally across Germany this summer.