Brussels, 16 February - Experts from Europe's 27 member states today failed to agree whether France and Greece should be forced to drop national bans on the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops. 
Both countries have banned the only GM crop authorised for cultivation in the European Union - Monsanto's GM maize, MON 810. Last month the European Commission issued a proposal for the bans to be overturned.
Helen Holder, European GMO campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Today's vote just confirms how inappropriate it is of the Commission to try and force these countries to drop their bans. In December 2008, all twenty seven EU Environment Ministers unanimously concluded that there are weaknesses in the GMO approval process, and that risk assessment requirements are not being met. 
"The genetically modified maize being voted on today is currently being re-appraised at EU level. It is nonsensical for the European Commission to try and force countries to drop their bans whilst this assessment is still underway. This kind of GM crop is highly controversial – its impacts on health, the environment and farming are unclear."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 Today's vote at the Regulatory Committee was a 'non qualified majority' vote. Under EU decision making rules, weighted voting means that a minimum number of votes is needed for a decision to be taken. The failure to reach the minimum level of agreement today means the Commission's proposals that the two national bans be dropped will be
transferred to an upcoming EU Environment or Agriculture Council for Ministers to vote on.
 Conclusions of the EU Environment Council, December 4th 2008