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article imageEurope agrees to GMO crops

By Tim Sandle     Jun 20, 2014 in Environment
Brussels - Member states of the European Union have agreed on a EU-wide directive for the authorization process of genetically modified crops, with an opt-out for individual countries.
The new plan allows individual countries to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GM crops that have been authorized at EU level. According to European Commissioner Tonio Borg, the outcome is a “balanced compromise text". The EU spokesperson states:
"I am delighted to announce that the Environment Council has just broken the deadlock on the GMO cultivation proposal [...]. Today's political agreement meets member states' consistent calls since 2009 to have more flexibility and legal certainty for national decisions on cultivation on their territory or part of their territory."
Despite the agreed wording, the issue of genetically modified organisms remains a sensitive one, especially in relation to the potential cross-contamination of crops. According to Business Insider, Food safety spokesperson of the European Green party in the European Parliament Bart Staes has called the compromise a “Trojan horse” that will allow GM crops in the currently mostly GM-free EU territory.
Staes also said: “The compromise on revising the EU process for GMO authorizations risks finally opening the door to genetically-modified organisms across Europe, in spite of mass public opposition. The partial re-nationalization of competences on GM cultivation [...] is a totally flawed approach. It would enable the Commission to force through swifter and easier EU-level GMO authorizations by allowing member states or regions to opt out."
On the other side of the fence the consortium EuropaBio criticized the decision to “renationalise” the GMO-related decision-making. The trade association said: “This deal shows the lack of willingness of the EU institutions and member states to correctly implement the current regulatory framework for GMO approvals they had decided upon themselves.”
It seems that the GMO controversy continues.
More about Crops, Gmo, Genetically modified, Europe
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