MMEEPPss sseen­ndd GGMM bbaann ddeecci­is­si­ioonn ttoo nnaat­ti­ioon­naall lleevveell

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment rub­ber-stamped con­tro­ver­sial rules on Mon­day per­mit­ting EU mem­ber states to de­cide them­selves whether to al­low the cul­ti­va­tion of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied (GM) crops, which are cur­rently grown in only five EU coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to new news and pol­icy site EurAc­tiv. Praised by some ex­perts as lib­er­at­ing, but at­tacked by oth­ers as un­der­min­ing the sin­gle mar­ket, the pro­posal breaks a 15-year dead­lock in grow­ing GM crops. Widely grown in the Amer­i­cas and Asia, cur­rently only a Mon­santo GM maize, au­tho­rised in 1998, is grown, mainly in Spain and Por­tu­gal, but also in the Czech Repub­lic, Ro­ma­nia and Slo­vakia.

Other pro-GM gov­ern­ments, the UK and the Nether­lands, would like to see more va­ri­eties ap­proved and grown on their soil. But they have been frus­trated by op­po­nents, such as France, Ger­many, Lux­em­bourg and Aus­tria, which have blocked the qual­i­fied majority re­quired in Brussels to give the go-ahead. Th­ese coun­tries to­gether with Bul­garia, Greece, Hun­gary, Poland and Italy have adopted safe­guard mea­sures pro­hibit­ing the cul­ti­va­tion on their ter­ri­to­ries.

Adopted by a very large majority (480 votes in favour), the agree­ment will give more free­dom, more flex­i­bil­ity to Mem­ber States as well as greater le­gal cer­tainty, said Bel­gian MEP Fred­erique Ries, re­spon­si­ble for the dossier.

After months of ne­go­ti­a­tions, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Par­lia­ment and mem­ber states have agreed on a scheme for au­tho­ri­sa­tion which will al­low mem­ber states to re­strict or pro­hibit the cul­ti­va­tion of spe­cific GMOs in their ter­ri­tory based on en­vi­ron­men­tal, agri­cul­tural, so­cio-eco­nomic pol­icy ob­jec­tives, even if Brussels gives the green light for their cul­ti­va­tion.

Mon­day’s decision means that the seven GMOs al­ready ap­proved but not cul­ti­vated in Europe could find their way into Euro­pean fields as soon as early next year.

Health and Food Safety Com­mis­sioner Vyte­nis An­driukaitis, who was present dur­ing the de­bate, wel­comed the agree­ment, adding it al­lows free­dom of choice.

“The agree­ment states that it will give mem­ber states the pos­si­bil­ity to re­strict or pro­hibit the cul­ti­va­tion of GMOs on their ter­ri­tory with­out af­fect­ing the EU risk as­sess­ment,” he said. Un­der the new rules, the Com­mis­sion will re­view and re­in­force the rules on the risk as­sess­ment un­der­taken by the Euro­pean Food Safety Agency (EFSA) within two years, so that au­tho­ri­sa­tions will be granted on the ba­sis of in­de­pen­dent and sound sci­en­tific eval­u­a­tions.

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and Green MEPs, who voted against the pro­posal, say that the leg­isla­tive ‘re­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion’ is a false so­lu­tion, adding that the EU has de facto aban­doned its re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect Euro­peans’ pub­lic health, as well as qual­ity agri­cul­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.