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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Environment Committee strengthens legal grounds for cultivation bans

EU Member States should be able to state environmental grounds, such as pesticide resistance, for restricting or banning the cultivation of EU-approved genetically-modified crops, said the Environment Committee on Tuesday. Stating these grounds could strengthen legal protection against possible WTO challenges to GMO bans, it added. The committee amended a Commission proposal that will allow EU Member States to restrict or ban the cultivation of genetically-modified crop varieties, so as to allow national authorities to cite environmental grounds. While some MEPs in committee would have preferred to dismiss the Commission proposal altogether, a majority, led by rapporteur Corinne Lepage (ALDE, FR), opted to maintain it with changes. Her report was adopted with 34 votes in favour, 10 against and 16 abstentions. She commented: “This vote is a clear signal from the Parliament to the Council and Commission: the EU authorisation system should be maintained but it should be acknowledged that some agricultural and environmental impacts, as well as socio-economic impacts linked to contamination, can be cited by Member States to justify a ban or restriction on GMO cultivation."

Source: European Parliament