Record number of EU countries opposes Commission plan to allow pesticide-producing GM maize

Commission approval of GM crop would be illegal, Greenpeace

Press release - February 11, 2014
Brussels – A substantial majority of EU countries has voted against a Commission plan to allow the cultivation of a genetically modified (GM) maize, known as 1507. Greenpeace warned that if the Commission nonetheless authorised the crop, despite the political opposition and concerns about its environmental impacts, it would be acting illegally.

 A European Court of Justice ruling in December 2013 struck down the authorisation of another GM crop adopted by the Commission in 2010, BASF's antibiotic-resistant GM potato Amflora. The Court found that the Commission had substantially altered its original proposal to approve Amflora, but had failed to consult again with a committee of national experts [1]. Greenpeace argues that the Commission has substantially altered its original proposal on 1507 and is once again in breach of EU law by fast-tracking this GM crop’s approval.

Nineteen countries voted against the approval of the GM crop (France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia) in a meeting of EU ministers, with only five in favour (Spain, the UK, Finland, Estonia and Sweden) and four abstentions (Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic and Belgium).

In January 2014, a wide majority of Members of the European Parliament also called on the Commission to withdraw its proposal to authorise the crop [2].

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “The Commission cannot ignore the scientific, political and legal concerns voiced by a large majority of countries, by two thirds of the European Parliament and supported by most EU citizens. The European Court of Justice would very likely overturn an authorisation of this GM maize in a legal challenge, as it did with the latest Commission approval of the Amflora GM potato. The Commission must learn from its mistakes and stop breaching the rules that help ensure the safety of what is grown in Europe.”

1507 is engineered to produce a pesticide toxin called Bt, which is toxic to insect pests. The EU’s own food safety authority has recognised the GM crop’s toxicity on butterflies and moths and warned about gaps in testing on the effects of 1507 [3]. The GM maize, produced by US agrichemical company DuPont Pioneer, is also engineered to be resistant to glufosinate ammonium. This herbicide will be banned in the EU by 2017 due to its toxicity [4].

The only crop currently grown in the EU is a pesticide-producing GM maize owned by US agrochemical company Monsanto.

Greenpeace press briefing on the 1507 Council vote:



[1] Reuters, 13 December 2013, EU court annuls approval of BASF's Amflora GMO potato: 

[2] European Parliament, 16 January 2014: Food safety: MEPs oppose authorising new genetically modified maize.

[3] EFSA scientific opinion on 1507, 6 November 2012: and 25 October 2012:

[4] Agro pages, 15 May 2013, EU to restrict herbicide glufinosate: 


Marco Contiero - Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director: +32 (0) 477 777 034,

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 22 741 915,

Photo & video footage of GM maize and protests

Photo: +31 (0)20 718 2471,  

Video: +31 (0)20 718 2472, 


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