The European Parliament today voted to reject a proposal by the European Commission for a new scheme under which EU member states could opt out of EU authorisations for genetically-modified food and feed (1). After the vote, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:
“The European Parliament has today voted to reject this fundamentally flawed proposal to revise the EU system for authorising genetically-modified food and feed by allowing national opt-outs. The European Parliament has today urged the EU Commission to go back to the drawing board and come forward with a new proposal that properly addresses the major flaws with the EU authorisation process.
"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 governments and, importantly, a clear majority of EU citizens. The proposal rejected by MEPs today would have instead facilitated EU GMO authorisations by allowing member states to opt out but without legal certainty for doing so. It also failed to address the flawed risk assessment process, which is at the heart of the problem. The Commission must now come forward with a real reform that addresses these problems, as President Juncker committed to doing.
"In the absence of a properly reformed authorisation system, it is irresponsible to proceed with further GMO approvals. As a result, we will systematically object to any GM food or feed authorisations under the regulatory procedure. To this end, we will later today table objections to the proposed approvals for GM maize NK603 x T25 and urge all political groups to support this."
(1) The European Commission proposed revising the EU system for authorising genetically-modified food and feed for use in the EU, allowing member states to opt-out of EU authorisations. The proposals foresee a streamlined decision-making process for EU GMO approvals, with the possibility for member states or regions to opt-out. However, concerns have been raised about the legal certainty of these opt-outs.