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Monday, 07 January 2013

UK urges EU to speed up GM crop approvals

Britain's farming and environment minister has called for a speeding up in the European Union's approval process for genetically modified (GM) crops which he said offered definite benefits including less pesticide use. "I think we need to work with like-minded partners to move the legislation along at a European level because it is going grindingly slowly and we are getting further and further behind," Owen Paterson told reporters on 3 January at the Oxford Farming Conference.
There has been strong public opposition to GM crops across much of the European Union, linked partly to concerns about their safety, which has helped to slow the approval process.
"There are definite gains but there is a big battle to be won with the public," Paterson said.
Mairead McGuinness, a member of the European Parliament's agriculture committee, said that lobbying against GM crops had become less intense in the last couple of years but said opposition remained significant. "The view for some time of many in the European Parliament has been that the public don't want it and therefore we are not going to have it," she told reporters.
The European Commission proposed allowing national cultivation bans for GMOs in July 2010, in a bid to break a deadlock in EU GM crop approvals which has seen few varieties approved for cultivation in more than 12 years.
The proposal, however, has been subject to bitter divisions in the Council since then, with recent attempts by the Danish presidency to find a compromise agreement making little headway.

Source: Euractiv