Paper reveals EU plan to boost GM crop cultivation
2010 05 28

From: reuters.com



Europe faces a major overhaul in the way it deals with genetically modified (GM) crops, after the European Commission sparked controversy with new plans to circumvent its cumbersome legislative review process.

The EU executive wants to let national governments decide whether or not to grow genetically modified crops without a long drawn-out review of the bloc's current GM legislation, an initial impact assessment seen by Reuters showed.

Details of the plan, which would open the door to widespread GM cultivation in Europe, provoked a furious reaction from environmentalists already angry at the EU executive's decision to approve the commercial growing of a GM potato in March.

But the plan will be a boost to biotech companies in the EU, where blockages in the current approval system have confined commercial growing to less than 100,000 hectares across the 27-nation bloc.

It could also ease trade tensions between the EU and the United States, which launched a World Trade Organization dispute against the EU in 2003 after countries including Austria and Germany banned the cultivation of an approved GM maize.

The EU executive is hoping to unblock the paralysis in GM crop approvals by giving those countries that want to grow them the freedom to do so, while also sanctioning the current "GM-free" stance of several member states.

Rather than revise the legislation, which would require the agreement of the European Parliament, the Commission will try to make the change "within the existing legislative framework, if possible," the paper said.

"The Commission appears intent on avoiding any democratic debate with the parliament in order to please the biotech industry and get GM crops into Europe," said Friends of the Earth campaigner Adrian Bebb.

The proposals -- due to be tabled in June -- will likely have "a positive impact on biotechnology and seed companies compared to the status quo," the assessment said.

"There may be a negative impact for non-GM farmers," it added, referring to the risk of unintentional contamination of conventional farm produce by GM-crops.

POLICY OPTIONS

The paper outlines several options for implementing the proposal within the existing legislative framework, and makes it clear that a key consideration will be the likely reaction of WTO countries, particularly the U.S.

"Biotechnology is an important topic of transatlantic dialogue and therefore relations with the U.S. ... need to be taken into consideration when developing this initiative, irrespective of the options," the assessment said.

The first and most likely option set out in the paper is that approval for GM cultivation requests would continue to be granted at EU level following a safety assessment, but countries would then decide individually whether to grow them or not.

When it comes to how member states will justify their decision whether or not to cultivate, one option is to revise non-legislative EU guidelines on the "co-existence" of GM and non-GM crops, according to the paper.

This would allow countries to specify a 5 or 10 kilometer "buffer zone" between GM and non-GM fields, which would effectively make cultivation of GM crops impossible in practice.

Another option in the paper is to allow countries to cite "socio-economic" factors as the basis for their decisions, such as protecting organic production, increasing farmers' yields, or reducing the use of herbicides and pesticides

Source: reuters.com



Related Articles
The Fight over the Future of Food
Zombie crops funded by British taxpayers to get round GM ban
GM food must be allowed into Europe, WTO rules
Scientists suspect health threat from GM corn
The Unethical Biopharming of America
Jeffrey Smith - The Health Dangers of Genetically Modified Food (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered
2014 10 21
A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine. Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five ...
What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.” Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia." Tune into Red Ice Radio: Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
Georgia Guide Stone 2014 cube stone removal
2014 10 21
From: Youtube: Was it all just a gag? it seems the cube stone just happens to be made out of the same Elberton granite that the rest of this morbid monument is made from.
More News »