Brussels – After three years of stalemate, environment ministers are expected to agree today on a draft law which allegedly gives EU countries the right to stop genetically modified (GM) crops from being grown on their land. Greenpeace warns that the compromise text negotiated by the Greek presidency is riddled with legal holes.
Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “Environment ministers want to give member states the right to ban GMO cultivation on their land, but the text they agreed today does not deliver on what it promises. It would still leave those countries that want to say ‘no’ to GMOs exposed to legal attacks of the biotech industry.”
Greenpeace criticises that the text agreed by ministers today would give biotech companies an official role in the banning process, and that it would prevent member states from using health and environmental risks posed by GM crops as justification for restricting their cultivation at national level.
The European Parliament already voted on the draft law in 2011 (1) and agreed a much more robust legal framework for national GMO bans. In particular, the Parliament position would allow EU countries to ban GM cultivation also on environmental grounds, to avoid problems related to the development of herbicide resistant weeds and negative effects of GMO cultivation on animals and plants, and in cases where adequate data on the impacts of GMOs in a specific natural environment is missing.
The text agreed in Council today will now go back to the European Parliament for a second reading. Greenpeace asks Parliamentarians to strengthen the law so that it will, in its final version, deliver what it promises, namely to give EU countries a legally solid right to ban GM cultivation on their territory.
Note to editors:
(1) European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2011 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2001/18/EC as regards the possibility for the Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory (COM(2010)0375 – C7-0178/2010 – 2010/0208(COD)), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2011-0314+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director: +32 (0)477 77 70 34 (mobile)
Greenpeace EU pressdesk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,
For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.