On Tuesday (17 December), the European Parliament's environment committee will vote on a motion proposed by the Greens to reject the recent proposal by the Commission to authorise the cultivation of a type of genetically modified maize in the EU. If granted, the proposed authorisation for GM maize 1507 (know as Herculex) would be the first time in 15 years the EU has allowed a new GM maize variety.
The Greens have raised major concerns with the proposed authorisation of this crop, which has been genetically modified to produce a pesticide toxin that endangers moths and butterflies and to withstand a herbicide. In addition, not all traits of the GM crop have been subject to the EU's risk assessment process. The resolution calls on EU governments to reject the proposal and on the Commission not to authorise any new GMO variety until the risk assessment methods have been significantly improved.
The role of the Commission in authorising GMOs has long been criticised, with these criticisms vindicated last week when the European Court of Justice struck down the authorisation of a genetically modified potato (Amflora). The pro-GM tendency of the Commission is no secret but that the Commission did not respect the rules governing authorisations indicates its gung-ho nature with regard to this highly controversial technology. The Greens believe this judgement should lead to an immediate halt of all pending GM authorisations and, in particular, for the controversial Herculex maize.
In general, there is a need to properly reform the existing EU GMO authorisation process. Taking account of the repeatedly negative decisions by EU governments on GMOs, the Commission should not be attempting a power grab but to respect the rights of European citizens, who are opposed to GMOs.