European Union Upholds the Right of Member States to Refuse GM Crops
EU environment ministers have reportedly upheld the sovereign right of nations to outlaw genetically modified (GM) crops even when approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The European Commission (EC) had asked the ministers to overturn Austria’s and Hungary’s ban on a GM maize produced by Monsanto, but 22 states backed the countries’ measures over the opposition of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden. Green MEP Caroline Lucas then accused the commission of trying to “bulldoze through their pro-GM agenda in spite of public opposition.” “I just hope that [EC President José Manuel Barroso] will realize the commission needs to change its position of GMOs,” Lucas was quoted as saying.
The ministers will next week consider a similar GM maize ban pending in France and Greece. Although the European Union currently imports animal feed made with GM crops, member states have balked at allowing farmers to cultivate GM foods on domestic soil. The debate has also raised questions about the role of EFSA in reviewing and approving agricultural products for EU use. See The Parliament.com
and Financial Times, March 3, 2009.