Important developments on the GMO front: Let’s start with Italy, where we were happy to hear that the State Council rejected the appeal made by a Friulian farmer, confirming the ruling by the regional administrative court (TAR) in Lazio on April 24 and reconfirming the validity of the decree banning the cultivation of MON 810 GM corn in Italy.
On to Luxembourg, where during a meeting held yesterday, the European Union’s Environment Council reached an agreement about the text prepared by the Greek Presidency on the Commission’s proposal to modify Directive 2001/18/CE in regards to the possibilities of member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of GMOs in their territory. But are we sure that this is a positive step?
The European GMO-free Regions Network has sent a document to the Greek Presidency, affirming the importance of every state being able to decide autonomously if it wants to authorize GM crops or not, and also raising some doubts about the draft under discussion. Among other things, the network pointed out the importance of collaboration between adjoining states to prevent any contamination and the application of the “polluter pays” principle in those situations where one country imposes restrictions on the use of GMOs and its neighbor does not (Read the European GMO-free Regions Network’s position paper).
We at Slow Food also have our doubts, expressed in the press release issued with Greenpeace. We fear that members states will not have sufficient legal force to be able to definitively ban the cultivation of GMOs in their territory.
During the discussions, Gian Luca Galletti, Italy's environment minister, confirmed that during its six-month European presidency, Italy will be able to play a key role in safeguarding its agriculture. To us, this means finally protecting the country from the risk of GM crops. We will see what happens. In any case, the draft proposal approved yesterday must now go back to the European Parliament for a second reading. We will remain vigilant and continue to follow further developments.