Parliament has disappointingly approved a flawed text that does not offer member states the legal certainty which is required when opting out of GM cultivation – despite strong public opposition to GM crops.

Irish MEP Lynn Boylan, shadow rapporteur on the file for the group, said: “Opting out of GM cultivation needs to be absolutely legally watertight – unfortunately in the legislation before us this is far from being the case. That is why we voted against this text today.

“In November, Parliament's Environment committee produced a very strong proposal that was an excellent rebuttal of the initial weak Commission proposal from 2010 and the worrying Council position from June 2014. We wanted watertight legislation that would enable member states to opt out of GM cultivation and we also called for a broadening of the grounds on which countries would be able to opt out so that environmental and socio-economic reasons were included as justifications.”

MEP Boylan continued: “But in the text adopted today by plenary, the result of Council and Parliament negotiations, these gains have disappeared: what we are left with are legal loopholes for biotech companies to take countries to court; the concept of a private company being placed on the same footing as a sovereign country is deeply undemocratic and a worrying precedent. The liability system has also been removed thereby offering no compensation for non-GM farmers whose produce is contaminated by GMOs.”

Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná, said: “GMO cultivation and its possible prohibition in member states has inspired a passionate debate. Numerous lobby groups running after profit are partially to blame.

“GMOs pose a risk, not only to the environment and biodiversity, but mainly to human and animal health. Most impact studies concerning GMOs were mainly financed by multinational corporations and lobbying groups. The harmful impact of GMOs on human health is not publicly discussed even though we know about it from independent studies.

“I am deeply disappointed about the text adopted today. The European Parliament entered the negotiations with a very good text which could and should have been defended but we haven't managed to do so. That is why we refused to support the text adopted today. We simply must stop GMOs in the EU.”

Galician MEP Lidia Senra, commented: “This is a farce here today. The Commission should know better than anyone that a state's discretion to authorise GM is not possible. You know that it is not possible for local and organic farmers to keep their practices free from GM contamination.”

She added: “How can you control and prevent contamination via the wind, for example? Local farming practices should not be at the mercy of multinationals. Healthy food must be one of our key objectives. We would have liked a directive that categorically bans GMs.”

Senra also raised the worrying issue of the dangers a EU-US free trade agreement would have for GM cultivation in the EU.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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