Stating a concern that the proposed law would lead to the reintroduction of border controls between GM and non-GMO-growing countries, the European Parliament news service reported that Members of the Environment Committee shot down a draft EU law that would allow member states to restrict or prohibit sales of genetically modified crops.
This vote goes against numerous EU states that have made it clear in recent months that they plan to instate total bans on GM crops. A total of 19 EU countries have sent letters to the EP saying that they plan GM bans, citing concern over spoiling agricultural markets, and also the desire to provide their citizens with organic food.
Environment Committee chair Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT) said:
“A clear majority in the committee does not want to jeopardize the internal market. For us, the existing legislation should remain in place, and member states should shoulder their responsibilities and take a decision together at EU level, instead of introducing national bans. This proposal conflicts with the principles of “better regulation” and transparency which the new European Commission has taken on board. After we spent so many years getting rid of internal barriers, this proposal could fragment the internal market and lead to a return to border inspections, which we all worked hard to get rid of at the time.”
The recommendation was approved by 47 votes to 3, with 5 abstentions. It should be noted that this is an amendment to existing legislation that allows member EU states to ban at will.
In its proposal, the Commission suggests that it should mirror, as regards genetically modified food and feed, the recent legislation in respect of GMOs intended for cultivation, which entered into force in early April 2015. It therefore proposes to allow member states to restrict or prohibit – under certain conditions – the use of genetically modified food and feed on their territory after these products have been authorized at EU level.