Brussels – Responding to reports that most member states endorsed today a Greek presidency proposal on how countries could ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in their territory, Greenpeace warns that this deal is riddled with legal holes.
Most importantly, it does not address health and environmental risks posed by GM crops. Moreover, biotech companies would be given an official role in the banning process, further increasing their influence over the European Commission and national governments.
Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “It looks like EU countries are falling for a Trojan horse. What the European Commission wanted to achieve through this draft law is to speed up EU approvals of GM crops -despite the fact that the European public is opposed to them. Today’s deal would do very little to help those countries who want to say ‘no’ to GM.”
EU countries should also be allowed to adopt national bans in case of persisting scientific uncertainty over the safety of a GM crop, as requested by the European Parliament. In July 2011, the European Parliament had voted to strengthen this draft GM law by recognising environmental grounds for bans, including the development of herbicide resistant weeds and biodiversity impacts, or when adequate data on the potential negative impacts of GMOs in a specific country environment were lacking.
Environment ministers are expected to discuss this deal during their 12 June Council meeting. Once they reach an agreement, the new European Parliament will have to take a position on the draft law.
Note to editors:
(1) On 11 February 2014, nineteen countries voted against a Commission plan to allow the cultivation of GM maize 1507. They also expressed concerns about the democratic gap characterizing the EU decision-making process on GM and called for its reform. These countries were France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Only five countries were in favour of the approval of GM maize 1507 (Spain, the UK, Finland, Estonia and Sweden) and four abstained (Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic and Belgium). In January 2014, a two third majority of the European Parliament also opposed the approval of GM maize 1507, urging the Commission to withdraw its proposed authorisation.
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.