The European Parliament's environment and public health committee today voted with a clear majority in favour of a resolution tabled by the Greens calling on EU governments to reject a proposal by the European Commission to authorise the cultivation of a type of GM maize in the EU for the first time in 15 years (1). The Greens welcomed the outcome, with health and food safety spokesman Bart Staes stating:
"Today's resolution is a slap on the wrist to the European Commission and gives a clear democratic mandate to EU governments to reject the proposed authorisation of this GM maize variety. The gung-ho approach by the Commission to this controversial and unpopular technology is simply not acceptable and EU governments in Council must now deliver a clear response.
"Last week's European Court of Justice ruling, which overruled a previous GM authorisation from the Commission (2), raised more general concerns with the Commission's partial role in the approval of GMOs. Against this background, the only legitimate response is to freeze all potential or pending GMO authorisations and, in particular, the proposed authorisation of this new variety of genetically modified maize (1507, marketed as Herculex outside the EU).
"Beyond this, there is a need to reform the EU's GMO authorisation process to take account of the consistent majority of EU member states in the Council of Ministers against authorisations. The partial renationalisation of competences on GM cultivation, proposed by the Commission but stalled in the legislative process, risks being a Trojan Horse. It must not be a trick to allow the Commission to force through swifter and easier EU level authorisations. This would be at total odds with public will, which opposes GMOs. Any new approval procedure should not be a tool for the Commission to bully EU member states into accepting authorisations for GM crops for which legitimate concerns clearly exist."
(1) The resolution was adopted with 34 votes in favour, 15 against and will be voted on by the Parliament as a whole next year.
(2) See the Green statement: http://www.greens-efa.eu/gmo-authorisations-11290.html