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EU Parliament to allow individual GMO legislations

Staff writer ▼ | January 15, 2015
The European Parliament adopted a new legislation that will allow EU countries to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their own territory.
Europe   The new regulation will take effect in spring 2015
The reform of this legislation has been blocked for four years due to disagreements between pro- and anti-GMO States. The new regulation, which will take effect in spring 2015, received 480 votes in favour, 159 against and 58 abstentions.

The EPP and the Social Democrats overwhelmingly supported the new standards, and many of them pointed out in the discussion previous to the vote that, while not being an ideal solution, it would resolve the many years of difficulties that the authorisation of GMOs has undertaken.

For his part, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said after the debate that with this new law, Member States "will have legally robust tools" to decide on the approval or rejection of GM crops on their territory.

Meanwhile, the environmental organisation Friends of the Earth Europe called on all countries to make use of the powers conferred to them by the new legislation to ban GM corn.

Companies in the EU biotechnology sector, grouped in EuropaBio, criticised that the new regulations will give countries "a license to prohibit healthy products that have been approved at European level and allow the veto based on non-scientific arguments."

Currently, a large number of Member States, such as France, Austria and Hungary, have regulations in place against the cultivation of GM crops which are allowed at European level, creating legal difficulties.

The new rules allow Member States to ban GMOs on the basis of different environmental policy risks to health or the environment cited by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).