European Commission to support failing biotech crop sector

11 April 2007

Brussels, 11 April - The European Commission intends to promote genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe, even though it admits that that the European public does not want to eat GM foods, warned Friends of the Earth Europe today. The European Commission's mid-term review of the EU's Biotech Strategy today called for increased financial and political support for biotechnology applications - including GM crops - while acknowledging the poor performance of the GM crop sector and its widespread public opposition. [1]

Helen Holder, GMO Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe said, "The European Commission's own research shows that the use of GM crops is an economic failure. But instead of scrapping its support, the Commission is instead ignoring the wishes of the majority of the European public and asking for looser regulation and more taxpayers' money for genetically modified crops." [2]

Research published last month by Friends of the Earth Europe shows that environmentally-friendly farming will create more jobs and make the EU more competitive than if it grows genetically modified (GM) crops [3].

"Growing genetically modified crops has not lived up to expectations on increasing competitiveness and employment. In contrast, the green farming sector - including organic production - provides an environmentally friendly source of food while stimulating the economy and creating jobs, but is unfortunately starved of political and financial support by European Union decisionmakers," Ms Holder added.



[1] The European Union's Biotechnology Strategy was adopted in 2002 for a period of eight years, with an evaluation due this year. The Commission's proposals are being sent to EU member states for agreement at the EU Competitiveness Council this June. For the mid-term review, see:

[2] The poor performance of GM crops will be confirmed by the European Commission's research institute (IPTS) next week, when the results of a cost benefit analysis of biotechnology in the European Union are presented at a conference in Brussels.

Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Draft summary report "Contributions of modern biotechnology to European policy objectives". Study website:

[3] "The EU's Biotech Strategy: Mid-term review or mid-life crisis? A scoping study on how European agricultural biotechnology will fail the Lisbon objectives and on the socio-economic benefits of ecologically compatible farming"
Friends of the Earth Europe, March 2007, See files: FoEE - biotech MTR midlifecrisis (March07, Executive summary), FoEE - biotech MTR midlifecrisis (March07, Full report)