Friday

18th Jun 2021

Agriculture MEPs call for rejection of GMO plan

  • 'The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, as the committee responsible, to propose rejection of the Commission proposal' (Photo: Chiot's Run)

MEPs from the agriculture committee spoke out on Thursday (3 September) against a proposal by the European Commission to allow member states to ban the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in the first legal protest following an already widely verbalised opposition to the plan.

A majority in the committee voted to accept without amendments the text written by German centre-right MEP Albert Dess, calling on the EP's environmental committee - which has the lead in the dossier - “to propose rejection of the commission proposal”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“The first time the proposal was discussed, all seven groups said that it should be rejected”, Dess said ahead of the vote. “I've never seen that before in eleven years.”

The commission wants to give member states the power to ban the use of GMOs in human and animal food, even if they have been authorised on an EU level.

The plan, announced last April, needs support from both the European Parliament and national governments before it can become law.

But the proposal received widespread criticism from left-wing and right-wing parties, and from both pro- and anti-GMO countries.

Critics say that the proposal would not be compatible with the EU's rules on free movement of goods, and that national governments would have no way to enforce a ban.

It would be unusual for a commission proposal to be flat-out rejected by the parliament, which also has the option to propose changes to the draft bill.

The draft report from the environment committee, which has the final say on the EP's position in this file, written by centre-right Italian Giovanni La Via, also calls on the commission to withdraw the proposal. It will be voted on later this year.

With its plan, the EU's executive body hopes to break the deadlock in the authorisation process, where there is rarely a qualified majority due to widely diverging views on GMOs.

In practice, this means that the Commission will take the final decision to approve GMOs for which its scientific body has given the go-ahead - and will be held accountable to citizens and member states who oppose GMOs.

In July, agriculture ministers already expressed their opposition to the plan.

EU agriculture ministers pummel GMO opt-out plan

The EU commission wants to give countries the power to ban GMOs. “It's not useful, it's impracticable, and it's likely to bring a large majority against it”, was one reaction.

Opinion

Where agriculture trumps the environment

To make the EU's agricultural system fairer and more environmentally friendly, there has to be a radical rethink of current practices.

Opinion

Time to beef up EU trade rules

A long-standing conflict between the US and EU on growth hormones for cattle is back, and could put European standards at risk.

Kerry resets climate relations before Glasgow summit

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy, was in Brussels to discuss how to tackle climate change with the European Commission. His appearance also marked a major shift in relations after the previous US administration under Donald Trump.

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. AstraZeneca must deliver 50m doses by September or face fines
  2. Next week is time for EU to finally lead on rule of law
  3. Austria blocking EU sanctions on Belarus banks
  4. Number of people forcibly displaced reaches historic high
  5. Three-quarters of EU citizens support vaccines, survey finds
  6. NGOs: Leaked EU biomass reform 'denial of science'
  7. US and Russia restart talks on cyber and nuclear war
  8. Europe needs to help sea rescues, say NGOs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us