Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

Brussels approves GMO bean despite public fears

The European Union has approved the import of a strain of genetically modified soybean, a move announced on Monday (8 September) by the European Commission.

The bean, which bears the moniker A25704-12 and was developed by German biotechnology firm Bayer Cropscience, is now authorised to be brought to Europe to be used in food or animal feed for the next 10 years.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The soybean is widely used to enrich animal feed (Photo: wikipedia)

The decision was arrived at by the EU's executive, the commission, after ministers from the EU member states could not come to an agreement on the subject. When ministers are blocked over approval of a particular genetically modified product, the decision passes over to the commission.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are a sensitive topic in Europe. While a strong majority of European citizens have concerns about such biotechnology - with only 27 percent in favour of GM products according to a 2006 Eurobarometer poll, ministers themselves are sharply divided.

The commission has repeatedly given its approval using this procedure, following the opinions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

In August 2007, EFSA said that Bayer's A25704-12 soybean was safe for import, awarding the product a "positive safety assessment."

The authority has long been accused of being biased in favour of the biotech industry, both by environmental groups and by certain EU member states, who say the body gives its OK to GMOs without the required research.

Anti-GMO campaigners complain that EFSA bases its investigations on data provided by the GM industry itself. It has always declared any GM crops it has studied to be safe.

The crop is to be planted widely across the United States next year. Without such authorisation, farmers in the 27-country bloc would not have been able to purchase soybeans due to contamination worries.

Soybeans are commonly used for the protein they add to animal feed.

Eurogroup makes 'progress' on Greek deal

Eurozone ministers endorsed an agreement in principle between the Greek government and its creditors over a new package of reforms. But talks on fiscal targets and debt could still block a final agreement.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Commission stops German-British stock merger

The decision to block the merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse was expected, as negotiations between the parties broke down a few weeks ago.

SMEs lack support in EU financial plan

The European Commission's plan for a capital markets union is said to be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, but many could end up being left out in the cold.

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

[Updated] The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Investigation

MEPs oppose EU agency to prevent Dieselgate II

The European Parliament said on Tuesday that there should be more EU oversight on how cars are approved, but stopped short of calling for an independent EU agency.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  2. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan
  3. Ivanka Trump to meet Merkel at Berlin women's conference
  4. Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in 20 years
  5. Nord Stream 2 to get €4.8bn from European energy firms
  6. Defeated Fillon retires from French politics
  7. Hollande: Vote Macron to avoid 'risk' for France
  8. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Russische schwarze Kassen bedrohen EU Demokratie
  2. Libya commanders in Brussels for migration talks
  3. Mixed review for EU asylum spots in Greece and Italy
  4. France still anxious over possibility of Le Pen win
  5. Free wifi plan backed by MEP committee
  6. Report: Germany blocks post-Dieselgate reform
  7. Russia suspected of Macron hack
  8. EU to exclude financial services from post-Brexit deal