The European Parliament's environment committee today voted to endorse an agreement on a new scheme for the authorisation of genetically-modified organisms in the EU. The Greens voted against the new scheme, as it would renationalise decisions about GMO cultivation instead of reforming the risk assessment process for GMOs, which is urgently needed. After the vote, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:
“This new scheme risks being a slippery slope for easing EU GMO authorisations, without providing certainty for those wanting to opt-out or say 'no' to GMOs. It fails to provide a legally watertight basis for those countries wishing to opt out and, as such, this 'renationalisation' of decisions on GMO cultivation is a Trojan horse. The agreement would also fail to ensure there are meaningful mandatory measures to prevent the contamination of non-GM crops, with the myriad of issues this raises for growers wanting to remain GM-free. More importantly, it fails to really change the fundamentally flawed EU approval process in itself.
"There is definitely a need to reform the EU's GMO authorisation process: we cannot persist with the current situation by which authorisations proceed in spite of flawed risk assessments and the consistent opposition of a majority of EU member states in Council and, importantly, a clear majority of EU citizens. However, the answer of this cannot be a trade-off of easier EU authorisations against easier national bans. This deal risks finally opening the door to genetically-modified organisms across Europe, in spite of citizens' clear opposition to GMOs. We now look to Jean-Claude Juncker to deliver on his promise to ensure the EU authorisation process is also reformed to reflect the consistent democratic opposition to GMOs in Europe."