Biotech Updates

EU Ministers Agree to Renationalize Approval of GM Crops

June 18, 2014

The European Union member states agreed on a plan to renationalize decisions of GM crops cultivation. In 2010, the European Commission proposed to let individual member states to ban or allow a GM crop in their territory, while the commission would still give marketing approvals for European countries based on the scientific opinion released by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). That proposal was revived in February 2014 when states debated over the approval of a GM maize line. Twenty six of the 28 member states agreed on this "cultivation proposal" on June 12, as practical compromise. In the coming months, Europe's Council of Ministers must agree on a joint version of the plan with the incoming European Parliament before the final text can be adopted, possibly in 2015.

EuropaBio released a statement expressing the biotech industry's dismay about the agreement. "To renationalize a common EU 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. "In particular, it would allow Member States to formally reject a technology on non-scientific grounds, which sets a dangerous precedent and sends a negative signal for innovative industries considering whether or not to operate in Europe," added Mr. Goig. "In the end it should be up to farmers to decide what they want to plant in their fields."

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