Monday

19th Aug 2019

Interview

Dutch parliament to complain about new GM rules

  • The Netherlands is a big importer of genetically modified soya beans for the European market (Photo: Bailey (and Muppet))

A proposal by the European Commission to give member states the power to ban food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is facing resistance from various corners in Europe.

The Dutch lower house of parliament is expected Tuesday (16 June) to approve sending a letter to commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, laying out its opposition to the plan, which would allow member states to opt out of the use of GM products which have already received an EU-wide stamp of approval.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

One of the driving forces behind the letter is centre-right Liberal MP Bart de Liefde.

“When Efsa [the European Food Safety Authority] has said a genetically modified soya bean, for example, is safe for humans, animals, and the environment, then it should be allowed in the entire European Union”, De Liefde told this website.

He said the proposal would reverse the integration of the internal market "by decades".

The 38-year old deputy is a member of the governing Liberal party, which is headed by current Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte.

In 2014, the party campaigned for the European Parliament elections with the slogan “Europe where necessary”, and advocated for European integration at "several speeds", depending on member states' enthusiasm.

But according to de Liefde, in the GM file, Europe is “very necessary … to prevent the internal market from being cut into bits just because in some countries parliamentary majorities have certain emotional fears” towards genetically modified organisms.

“Fear is a bad counsellor in politics”, said De Liefde.

He said he thinks that the proposal, if adopted, would cause economic damage to the Netherlands, which is a big importer of soya beans – many of which are genetically modified.

The commission's proposal follows years of deadlock in the GM approval process, in which member states fail to reach a clear majority in favour or against.

That has led to a situation where the commission takes the final decision to approve a GMO – making it the subject of criticism by anti-GMO groups.

“With this proposal, the commission is trying to throw this headache file into member states' [laps]”, said the Dutch MP.

“The European treaty is very clear. If there is no majority in favour or against, then the commission has to bite the bullet”, noted De Liefde, adding that if the commission no longer wants that responsibility, it should propose to change the European treaty.

“But then I also have a thing or two I would like to see changed in the treaty.”

EU to return GMO powers to states

The EU commission has proposed giving member states the power to ban the use of GMOs in human and animal food products, but there are already concerns about whether the plans are workable.

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  2. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  3. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  4. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  5. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  6. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  7. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  8. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us