European Commission backtracking on GM laws
April 10, 2015
Following an announcement in March 2015 in which the European Parliament approved a new law allowing individual member states to ban the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops, there are reported yesterday that the European Commission (EC) has proposed to extend this process to imports of GM material, the EuropeanVoice reported.
(Friday, 10 April 2015) Following an announcement in March 2015 in which the European Parliament approved a new law allowing individual member states to ban the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops, there are reported yesterday that the European Commission (EC) has proposed to extend this process to imports of GM material, the EuropeanVoice reported.
On 13 March, the European parliament approved a new directive that would allow member states to impose national bans on GM crops that have been authorised for cultivation elsewhere in the EU. The EC has now proposed to extend this to imports of animal feed and crops with industrial uses.
The proposal has alarmed 13 EU food and feed chain organisations including the EU Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry (FEDIOL), the European Feed Manufacturers Association, the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union, and Copa-Cogeca. They said the proposal would undermine the EU single market.
Speaking on behalf of the 13 organisations, Pekka Pesnen, secretary general of Copa-Cogeca warned the EC about “the severe economic and social impact of this proposal, which will severely jeopardise the Internal Market for food and feed products, leading to significant job loses and lower investment in the agri-food chain in ‘opt-out’ countries. This would cause severe distortions of competition for all EU agri-food chain partners.”
The proposal, which will accompany the EC’s review of the GM authorisation system, will be released by the EC on 15 April. It is expected to contain import authorisations for 17 GM crops.
Further opposition to the proposal has come from anti-GM campaigners. It is feared that a ban on GM crop imports could invite legal challenges, which would endanger the fine balance on GM cultivation in the EU, the EuropeanVoice reported.
The 13 March decision on cultivation would allow member states to ban or resist GM crops on their territory, reports euobserver.
First, during the EU authorisation process, they will be able to adjust the geographical scope of the cultivation. Second, if a crop is authorised by the EC, they will be able to restrict or prohibit cultivation on their territory.
The directive gives member states the possibility to ban GM cultivation on environmental grounds, but also for other reasons, such as socio-economic impact or public policy.
They will no longer need to provide new evidence of risk to health or the environment, unlike the old rules.