New proposals to grant national governments more say over cultivating genetically modified (GM) crops on their territory where discussed today in the European Council. The proposals, if agreed, represent an empty offer, according to Friends of the Earth Europe, providing little legal basis for countries who oppose GM crops, and extreme bias to companies who profit from GM technology.
EU chiefs have the opportunity tomorrow (November 6) to keep Europe's fields free from a new highly toxic genetically modified (GM) crop. The European Commission will decide tomorrow whether to recommend the GM maize be authorised for cultivation or not. The decision will then be passed to national governments. Friends of the Earth Europe is calling for the crop to be banned for the good of European citizens and the environment.
Today a coalition of environmental, farming and consumer organisations called on the European Commission to reject plans to authorise a new genetically-modified (GM) maize for cultivation in Europe.
European Commissioners will meet next Wednesday (6th November) to decide whether the GM maize 1507, owned by the multinational biotech company Pioneer, can be grown on European soil. In a letter to the Commissioners today, the coalition urged them to reject the application citing the social and environmental risks associated with GM crops.
Commenting on Monsanto's withdrawal of applications for the cultivation of seven genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe, Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "There is no market for GM crops in Europe: the public don't want them, farmers don't want them. With biotech companies rushing one by one for the exit it's time to plough all our resources into ensuring the green and fair farming that European citizens demand – farming that protects nature and encourages a vibrant community."
This week social movements of farmers, citizens and ecologists in Spain are denouncing the pro-GMO policies of the Spanish government during a week of action.
This is the fifth annual 'Action week against GMOs and in support of food sovereignty' organised by farmers trade unions, consumers associations and green groups.
Mute Schimpf on Friends of the Earth Europe's new campaign to stop new GM crops being cultivated in Europe.
Last week a young activist asked me why politicians don't get the facts about GM crops right. 'Why do governments push for GMOs in our fields?' she asked. It is a valid question.
Proposed new regulation giving countries greater rights to ban genetically modified (GM) crops did not get agreement from Environment Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today.
Friends of the Earth Europe supports stronger rights for individual countries and regions to ban GM crops.
However the group is critical of the proposal submitted to ministers which was vague, lacked strong legal grounds for bans, and proposed that countries ask biotech companies for permission to impose bans.
As Denmark prepares to take over the presidency of the European Union in January for the first half of 2012, Friends of the Earth Europe has written a letter to the Danish Presidency calling on it to contribute to a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable future, for the people of Europe and other continents.
"The current global economic, financial, environmental and social crises present us with a challenge of historic proportions. Only an urgent, wide ranging and far reaching response can deal with this situation," the letter states.
An open letter from Friends of the Earth Europe to Commissioner John Dalli about impacts of the cultivation of genetically modified crops.