On January 13th the European Parliament voted on the issue of cultivation of GMO’s in member states granting each ms the power to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMO’s, A clear majority was reached with 480 votes to 159 and 58 abstentions. The new directive does not include mandatory coexistence measures and liability regimes which will raise issues for organic production in Europe.
The EU Commission has committed not to approve any GMO for cultivation before this new directive enters into force. In the first half of 2015 there is a review of the GMO’s authorisation process in Europe.
According to MEP, Mairead McGuinness, “today’s vote goes further in establishing a two-phase approach to ban the cultivation of GMOs. “Phase one allows Member States to participate in the GMO authorisation procedure at an EU level. Member States can request the applicant or company to modify the scope of the geographical area intended for authorisation.
“Phase two comes into effect after the authorisation procedure is complete, Member States can still prohibit the authorised GMO crop from being cultivated in their territory. However, there cannot be any conflict between national measures implemented and the environmental risk assessment carried out by EFSA,” she continued.
Member States can use grounds such as agriculture policy objectives, land use, socio-economic impacts, public policy and co-existence to restrict of prohibit GMOs in their territory. Such restrictions are applicable to both individual crops and groups of GMOs. We will monitor the next few months with growing interest.