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Friday, 14 February 2014

GM maize debate raging in Europe

GMOs, Genetically Modified Organism, are back on the agenda as France prepare a new law to restore a ban on a genetically modified corn maize which was annulled by its top courts. Meanwhile in Germany a different debate is raging. The government there plans to abstain from an EU vote to allow the cultivation of a new type of genetically modified maize, that would effectively end Monsanto’s GMO monopoly in Europe.
After the annulment French politicians are now trying to forbid the cultivation of any GMO maize, and not just MON810, a variety created by Monsanto , currently the only one permitted for cultivation in Europe. The ban though was overturned by France highest court as lacking sufficient scientific grounds. French citizens are strongly opposed to GMOs. Politicians hope that they can pass the bill before the planting season, Reuters news agency reports.
Some in Germany are worried that the abstention could be effectively green-lighting the cultivation of the DuPont and Dow Chemican instect-resistant maize named Pioneer 1507. However Reuters informs that EU officials expect that the next meeting of the Council of Ministers will anyway fail to reach a definitive agreement. "The German government has agreed to abstain ... It is normal procedure to abstain on a dossier where there are different opinions within the government on the matter," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on the 5 February 2014.
Even though the German grand coalition has not yet reached a political agreement on GM crops, French officials told Reuters they were disappointed at Berlin’s decision. If the Council of Ministers results in impasse, the Commission would be able to go ahead unilaterally with allowing the crop’s cultivation.
Environmentalists and public opinion in Europe are deeply opposed to the introduction of GMOs.

Source: Reuters, Neurope