Tomorrow is the deadline for EU member states to opt-out of EU authorisations for the cultivation of genetically-modified organisms under new EU rules. Ahead of the deadline, the Commission has confirmed that 15 of 28 member states have indicated they will opt-out and more are expected to do so before tomorrow's deadline (1). Commenting on the situation, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:
“The resolve of these EU member states to ban GMO cultivation on their territory is laudable. It confirms what we already know: that a clear majority in Europe is opposed to genetically-modified crops. It is clearly regrettable that the Commission and some member states want to push ahead with GMO cultivation in spite of the myriad of problems this poses, also cross border.
"It is imperative that the Commission and the minority of pro-GMO governments both respect and actively support all those EU governments that have opted to ban GMO cultivation. There are serious concerns that the legal framework for these opt-outs, under the EU rules finalised earlier this year, is not watertight. This could leave governments subject to challenges by biotech corporations. Those member states opting-out of GMO authorisations must therefore have the full support of the Commission and other EU governments.
"Beyond this, there is a need to properly reform the EU's authorisation process: we cannot persist with the current situation by which authorisations proceed in spite of flawed risk assessments. EU Commission president Juncker must deliver on his promise to ensure the EU authorisation process is also reformed to reflect the consistent democratic opposition to GMOs in Europe."
(1) Find the full list at http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/new/authorisation/cultivation/geographical_scope_en.htm