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Jun 4, 2010

EU To Overhaul GM Crop Approval System

On 4 June 2010 EurActiv.com reported that the European Union (EU) was working on a new policy to "radically overhaul" the regulatory approval system currently set in place for gene-engineered (GE) crops. 

The new proposal was set to be adopted by the European Commission on 13 July 2010.  The proposal is targetted at providing greater flexibility to individual countries in deciding whether to allow GE crops in their territories.  As the current policy requires overall EU approval, granting individual countries authority could open the door to the possibility of greater cultivation of GE crops. 

Currently there are estimated 100,000 hectares planted to GE crops in the European Union, compared to 134 million hectares planted globally.  Most of these are located in Spain.  Other countries in favor of planting GE crops are: the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Countries that have legally banned GE crops from cultivation are: Italy, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria.

The new rules are being drafted by EU Health and Consumer Affairs Commissioner John Dalli.  They are based on a joint Austrian-Dutch proposal endorsed by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in 2009 during his bid for reappointment. 

The new rules are said to have 2 tracks including:
  1. A "fast-track" that will issue new guidelines on "co-existence."  This allows countries to set their own technical standards for refuge and buffer zones.  
  2. A "restricted amendment" to that would allow countries to ban GE cultivation altogether for reasons other than safety or coexistence grounds."

Passage of the new policy is dependent upon approval by a qualified majority of EU governments and the European Parliament under the EU's system of weighted voting.


For more see: "EU to overhaul GM crop approval system," EurActiv.com, 4 June 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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