After three years of stalemate, Europe’s environment ministers will today be asked to vote on a draft law which would give EU countries the right to ban the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their national territory. However, Greenpeace and Slow Food believe that the current text of the law regarding the so-called “renationalization” of GMOs risks becoming a trap for countries that do not want GM crops.
“The text presented by Greece offers few guarantees of being able to hold up legally. Those countries, like Italy, that want to say ‘no’ to GMOs would be exposed to legal retaliation from the biotech sector,” said Greenpeace and Slow Food in a joint statement.
Greenpeace and Slow Food are also worried by the fact that the text being examined today by the ministers would give biotech companies a formal role in the process of banning the cultivation of GMOs. This text also prevents member states from using justifications linked to the health and environmental risks deriving from GM crops to restrict their cultivation at a national level.
The European Parliament has already voted in 2011 (1) on the draft law for “renationalization” and agreed on a much more robust legal framework for national GMO bans. The text of the European Parliament law would allow EU countries to ban the cultivation of GMOs also on environmental grounds, with the aim of avoiding problems related to the development of herbicide-resistant weeds and the negative effects of GMO cultivation on animals and plants, and in cases where adequate data on the effects of GMOs in specific natural environments were lacking.
In any case, the text that will approved by the Environment Council today will have to go back to the European Parliament for a second reading. Greenpeace and Slow Food are asking MEPs to strengthen the law on renationalization in order to guarantee real legal solidity for the initiatives of those member states that want to ban GMO cultivation on their territory. Within this context, Italy’s six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will begin in July, must be used as an opportunity to assert a leading role for Italy in safeguarding its agriculture, environment and economy from the dangers of GMOs.
(1) European Parliament legislative resolution of July 5, 2011 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending directive 2001/18/EC as regards the possibility for the member states to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory (COM(2010)0375 – C7-0178/2010 – 2010/0208(COD)), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2011-0314+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
Federica Ferrario, Agriculture campaign manager for Greenpeace Italy +39 348 3988616
Cinzia Scaffidi, director of Slow Food Italy’s Study Center, +39 0172 419 613, [email protected]
Greenpeace Italy Press Office, +39 06 68136061 ext. 203
Slow Food Italy Press Office, +39 0172 419 653, [email protected]