Friday

20th Oct 2017

Little agreement on commission GMO proposal

  • Many EU citizens remain opposed to GMO products, also known as 'Frankenfoods' (Photo: European Commission)

European Union member states have concluded their first debate on a recent European Commission proposal to allow differentiated GMO cultivation, with most capitals raising serious objections.

Belgian minister for agriculture Sabine Laruelle, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, acknowledged the considerable opposition after she met with EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday (27 September).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"I don't think we can expect a compromise over the next couple of months," she told journalists at a new conference. "A great deal more will have to be done."

Germany, France and several other member states are concerned that the commission's proposal could result in a fragmentation of the EU's internal market, as well as run into opposition from the World Trade Organisation.

Italy and pro-GMO Spain also reportedly raised concerns over the proposal, citing their opposition to the renationalising of an EU common policy, while anti-GMO Austria, Hungary and Greece gave it support.

Announced in July, the commission plan says environmental and health considerations on whether to approve the cultivation of a certain GMO-crop should remain at EU level, but adds that member states should subsequently be allowed to ban an EU-authorised product at national level using other criteria.

These could be socio-economic in nature, or following a referendum, although details remain unclear. An ad-hoc group composed of member state officials has been set up to study the issue.

Pro-GMO Netherlands is among the list of EU countries supporting the commission's blueprint, seeing it as a means to unblock years of deadlock in the area.

"Once GMO-crops have been assessed as safe for people, animals, and the environment, we should give our farmers a real choice and a chance to compete globally," said Dutch minister of agriculture Gerda Verburg on Monday.

GMO products remain unpopular with many EU citizens however, frequently being referred to as 'Frankenstein Foods'.

A new procedure under the EU's Lisbon Treaty allows European citizens to request Brussels to look into a particular area once one million signatures have been collected on a petition, with a call for a GMO ban nearing this figure.

European commissioner for consumer affairs John Dalli defended the proposal on Monday, saying it would allow differing levels of GMO cultivation across the bloc but would not hamper trade in GMO products.

"It does not undermine the internal market and is not in contradiction with WTO rules. On the contrary, legal experts say it is the current status which is problematic with the WTO," he said.

Many environmental NGOs are also unhappy with the proposal however, saying member states that chose to implement a ban at national level under the proposal would be vulnerable to legal challenges.

"EU countries shouldn't be duped into accepting the proposal as it stands and taking the pressure off the commission to improve crop safety and prevent GM contamination," said Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero.

EU seeks to shut down sea route from Libya

EU leaders are aiming to reach a consensus on the Dublin asylum reforms by early next year, announced European Council chief Donald Tusk. But first, they want to shut down the Central Mediterranean route from Libya.

EU Parliament: EU migrant quotas do have a future

The EU Parliament's lead negotiator on the Dublin rule, a key asylum regulation that has sparked a political clash among EU states, is now demanding for an automatic and permanent relocation scheme.

EU countries praise Tusk's new summit plans

EU capitals voice support for more summits, tackling divisive issues and sometimes deciding by majority - not consensus - as outlined in the European Council president's plan.

EU countries praise Tusk's new summit plans

EU capitals voice support for more summits, tackling divisive issues and sometimes deciding by majority - not consensus - as outlined in the European Council president's plan.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch PM: Brexit is 'still a bad idea'
  2. Commission to issue proposal on civil protection
  3. Tusk: 'No space' for EU intervention in Catalonia
  4. Austrian PM calls Brexit talks speed 'big disappointment'
  5. PM Muscat: journalist murder 'left a mark' on Malta
  6. Belgian PM: No crisis with Spain over Catalan remarks
  7. Ireland PM: Further Brexit concessions needed from UK
  8. Merkel: rule of law in Turkey going 'in wrong direction'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  2. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  3. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  6. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  7. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  8. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  9. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  10. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  11. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness