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Issue n°20 May 2016





  • Good for business, bad for us - Why Bayer buying Monsanto is more than just another merger
  • No privatisation of life - No patent on our tomatoes!
  • We are pissed off! - MEPs test positive for glyphosate
  • GMO website Revival! 






  • "Why Soil matters - A European Perspective" - report of the conference is out!






  • Every month food actors who joined the 'Join the Food Revolution' network share their story, showing the way to take back control over your plate –






  • Upcoming Events





Good for business, bad for us - Why Bayer buying Monsanto is more than just another merger

German drugs and chemicals group Bayer has announced a $62 billion cash offer for the US company Monsanto, owner of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and of the only GM plant currently authorised for cultivation in the EU (Mon 810 Maize). While Monsanto has so far rejected the offer as "incomplete and financially inadequate", history suggests that this is unlikely to be the end of the issue but merely the start of further negotiations. If this indeed the case and Bayer finally succeeds in its takeover, the resulting monstrous agrochemical giant which will hold 24% of the world pesticide market and 29% of the world seed market, or, in Bayer's words "a leading integrated agriculture platform"



No privatisation of life - No patent on our tomatoes!

A few weeks ago a European-wide coalition of NGOs launched a mass opposition against a patent held by the Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta on tomatoes produced by conventional breeding. Indeed, in 2015, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted a patent to Syngenta on tomatoes "with a high content of flavonols". These compounds are supposedly beneficial to health. This means Syngenta is patenting perfectly "natural" common tomatoes, that will potentially grant them rights on every tomato, tomato seed and tomato plant with the same characteristics. 



We are pissed off! - MEPs test positive for glyphosate

Last April, the Greens took the initiative of inviting colleague MEPs to have their urine tested for residues of the herbicide glyphosate. The action was launched during the week of the plenary vote on a strong resolution opposing the renewal of the license for glyphosate, the controversial weedkiller we've been campaigning to ban. A cross-party group of 48 MEPs from 13 member states took part, and the results are now in. The results of this symbolic action demonstrate just how omnipresent this suspected carcinogenic substance is in our lives. No matter your age, sex, or lifestyle, everyone is exposed to this substance. Glyphosate is literally everywhere - in our environment, our food, our beer, our wine and also in our bodies. And that's why it's lurking in our elected representatives' urine.



GMO website Revival!
With rising concerns on the issue, the Greens/EFA Group revives its GMO website

The fact that only one GM plant is currently authorised for cultivation in the EU - a maize - and is only grown on a few thousand hectares shows just how successful farmers and citizens have been in mobilising against GMOs these last 25 years. The Greens/EFA Group has been against the use of GMOs in agriculture from the very beginning and our position hasn't changed since.

The quasi absence of GM plants in our fields has led EU citizens to believe they are safe from GMOs. Unfortunately, this is not true. 

In fact, more than 60 GM plants are authorised in the EU for use in food or feed, imported mostly from North and South America, through a decision process that was deemed undemocratic even by Mr. Juncker. New GMOs - so called "new breeding techniques" - are not yet in our fields but the industry is pushing very hard to have them completely deregulated. This would mean no evaluation of the plants, no traceability and no labelling. This, alongside other problems such as the pressure for deregulation coming from trade agreements (CETA, TTIP, etc.), the appearance of resistant super weeds in Spain, and the links between GMOs and dangerous products as glyphosate, means that GMOs are a bigger political issue now than ever before.

This is why the Greens/EFA Group has revived its GMO website, where you will be able to find press releases, articles, videos, brochures and resources on this topic.

On new GMOs, a dedicated page and a new brochure (available in English and French) are available to help you understand what they are and the risks they pose.




"Why Soil matters - A European Perspective" - report of the conference is out!

Last November, the Greens held a special conference to mark the International Year of Soil. The report from this event aims to summarise the debate that took place around the links between soils, food security and climate, and how this interconnectivity is dealt with at a European level. Not only did the conference hear from high level speakers from the academic world, there was also practical insight from field actors who are working on the ground to preserve healthy living soils. The event brought a European perspective to major ongoing global debates, such as the discussion around sustainable food policies, agroecology and the Climate Summit (COP21).






This month, Nicole shares with us her passion for cooking and good quality food. Her passion led her to meet producers, imagine and prepare healthy recipes, and to share them with people and help them discover new tastes. Nicole is constantly looking for quality local food thanks to her gastronomic escapes in her region and country: Belgium.

Get to know more about Nicole and Join the Food Revolution yourself!




01/06: Press conference of the European Commission on the state of play and next steps in the Glyphosate authorisation procedure

6/06: Meeting of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed: Member states are expected to vote on the short extension of the reauthorisation of glyphosate for 1 to 2 years.

15/06: DG Santé will present criteria for endocrine disruptors to the College of Commissioners.

24-25/06: Synenergene Forum on Synthetic Biology in Amsterdam: conference focused on synthetic biology 


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© Christian Kaufmann
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