July 7, 2011
The European Parliament had approved a new package of legislation, giving more grounds to member states on banning genetically-modified (GMO) crops.
Under the new regulation, more choice would be given to its member states to decide whether they wish to allow planting EU-approved GMO crops in their territory or not.
In fact, the new rules would allow national authorities to cite environmental grounds if they want to restrict or ban such cultivations. These grounds should strengthen legal protection against possible World Trade Organization challenges to GMO bans.
GMO crops authorized in the EU are cotton, maize, bacterial protein, yeast strains, oilseed rape, potato, soybean and sugar beet.
So far, Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Germany and Luxembourg have banned planting of these crops, citing the “safeguard” clause included in the 2001 Directive on the deliberate release into the environment.
The legislation needs approval from European Council. If the proposal on GMO crops is to be adopted, the member states will be able to ban cultivation, citing agro-environmental grounds, such as pesticide resistance, the invasiveness of certain crops and a threat to biodiversity.
However, when the proposal went to the vote in the Parliament on Tuesday, the Council had not reached an agreement yet, said Christopher Coakley, an official working at the Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee.
“The Council will discuss the proposed legislation although it is unlikely they will approve 100 percent of the text from the Parliament,” Coakley added.