Brussels, September 27 –European Agriculture Ministers met today in Brussels for their first exchange of views on proposals from the European Commission to give more power to national governments to decide on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops.
The European Commission’s proposal to offer countries new grounds to ban the cultivation of GM crops was launched by Commissioner John Dalli in July. Friends of the Earth Europe believes the plans do not offer enough legal certainty, and could form a potentially dangerous deal for member states.
Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Governments need to stand firm and ensure that consumers, farmers and the environment are fully protected from genetically modified crops. Any backroom deal to open up Europe’s fields in exchange for more rights to ban crops in some regions will not be acceptable to the millions of people in Europe who reject these foods”.
“Commissioner Dalli has for the first time confirmed that social and economic factors will be included in the new risk management procedures for GM crops. This is a step in the right direction but until European laws are toughened up we need an immediate ban on growing any new GM crops.”
To ensure GM-free food and farming, the proposals from the European Commission must be strengthened to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the biotech industry pays for any damage resulting from GM cultivation, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.