Outright rejection of genetically modified (GM) crops is snowballing across Europe, as governments or regions from at least 10 European countries, with more to follow by Saturday, take political steps to ensure their countries are GM-free.
Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Poland have applied for national bans, with Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Bulgaria, expected to follow. Regions in Belgium have already notified the European Commission, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the pipeline.
Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "There has never been a clearer signal that GM-crops, and the companies that make them, are not wanted in Europe. The technology is not only risky, it's redundant. People, and the governments that represent them, are rejecting them outright."
Friends of the Earth Europe is critical of the deeply flawed, undemocratic mechanism for applying for national bans on GM-crops. Countries wishing to ban GM-crops must send their application to the European Commission. Their case is then reviewed by the biotech companies that produce GM-crops, like Monsanto, Syngenta and Pioneer, who then accept or reject the bans.
Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "It's Kafkaesque that the companies who profit from GM-crops should be given jurisdiction over democratically-agreed decisions to ban GM-crops. Corporate profits should not be put before people, and the interests of Europe's food and farming sectors. The democratic decision of countries to ban GM-crops must be respected by the biotech industry."
The results of the applications will be published in early November. If rejected by Monsanto, Syngenta or Pioneer, governments still have the option to ban GM-crops on agricultural, social and economic grounds.