Prohibition of the cultivation of GMOs by Member States
Since the EU is one of the world's biggest growers of agricultural crops, agro-industrial producers try to gain access to its market for their genetically modified varieties (GMOs).
In the EU, only two crops, Monsanto's MON810 maize and BASF's potato Amflora are authorised for cultivation.
In both cases, several Member States have banned their cultivation within their territories.
The proposal presented by the Commission aimed to perpetuate the current system of EU-level authorisation, while listing considerations that would allow Member States to impose national bans on their cultivation.
What was the Greens' position?
The Greens believe that GMOs are hazardous to the environment and that the arguments put forward by the GM industry regarding potential benefits are profit-driven.
GMOs are supposedly created to produce toxins to counter pests or make crop plants resistant to herbicides, yet studies have shown that pesticide use often increases with GM crops' use and that both pests and weeds develop resistances.
Moreover, the uncontrollable distribution of pollen, seeds and crops means that cultivating GMOs can broadly contaminate others.
In addition, since GMOs are patented by companies, they bind farmers to certain producers of seeds and the respective pesticides, thereby excessively increasing the market power of agro-industrial multinationals and harming biodiversity.
For these reasons, we oppose the authorisation of any GMOs in the EU.
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens succeeded in securing Parliament's support for substantial improvements, even though we opposed the Commission proposal as such.
One of our main achievements was to expand the reasons that Member States can invoke to ban GMOs, including environmental grounds, the protection of biodiversity, risks of pesticide resistance or socioeconomic risks.
We also managed to ensure that all Member States are obliged both to implement anti-contamination measures to avoid the uncontrolled spread of pollen and to put in place a liability system in line with the 'polluter pays' principle.
Risk assessments at EU level need to be strengthened and access to the data required for independent research must be made freely accessible.
Currently, the proposal is stuck in the Council, where the Member States cannot agree on a common position.
Which points did the Greens lose?
Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure
Lead MEP:Corinne Lepage (ALDE)
Green MEP responsible:Margarete Auken, Bart Staes
Staff contact:Corinna Zerger (Email)