European governments today voted on a new law that grants them extra powers to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in their territories.  Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on them to immediately ban all GM maize crops – the only category of GM crop currently in the pipeline for cultivation in Europe.
The European Parliament today voted to grant national governments new powers to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in their territories. Today's decision by the European Parliament for the first time allows governments to ban entire categories of GM crops.
After intense negotiations, the European Parliament and national governments this month found a compromise on new rights for governments to constrain or prohibit genetically modified (GM) crops within their borders. The proposal has enormous public support across Europe.
Real rights for countries to ban genetically modified crops are a step closer today after a committee of MEPs voted to close major loopholes in proposed legislation.
The environment committee of the European Parliament voted to support stronger legal grounds for national governments to impose bans on the cultivation of GM crops on their territory. Importantly, MEPs also voted against giving biotech companies a role in decision-making about GM crop bans.
On November 11 the Environment Committee of the European Parliament will agree on new rights for governments to constrain or prohibit genetically modified (GM) crops on their territory.
The vote will define the parliament's position for negotiations with the European Council and the European Commission, which aim to find a final agreement by mid January 2015.
Today signatures from more than 165,000 European citizens were presented to Gilles Pargneaux MEP, the vice-chair of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, calling on him to close the loophole in the EU proposal to ban GMOs. The petition asked that the European Parliament guarantees member states have a real legal basis to ban GMOs from their fields.
Fears are growing that the proposed EU-US trade deal (known as TTIP) will lead to food contaminated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) being allowed into Europe for human consumption, despite public reassurances that food safety standards would be maintained.
Friends of the Earth Europe and other campaign groups today called on members of the European Parliament to back citizens' demands for improved rules to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops.
A letter signed by Friends of the Earth and four other environment, consumers and farmers groups was sent to all members of the parliament's environment committee, which will debate this controversial issue later in the week.
Today's vote by EU environment ministers in favour of a new law that would theoretically allow individual countries to ban genetically modified (GM) crops is a poisoned chalice which could open Europe's fields to more biotech crops, says Friends of the Earth Europe.