The EU’s plans to allow member states to decide on whether they should allow or ban GM crops on a national basis have suffered a setback after a meeting of the bloc’s agriculture ministers failed to agree on the proposals.
Speaking at a meeting of EU farm ministers in Brussels yesterday (27 September), many of the traditionally anti-GM countries opposed the plans, according to reports.
It is understood that Germany, France, Italy and Spain all expressed doubts over the viability of the plan, amid fears that the proposal may lead to the fragmentation of the internal market for agriculture goods.
Belgian agriculture minister Sabine Laruelle said: “I don’t think that we can expect a compromise or a consensus over the next couple of months. A great deal more work is going to have to be done.
“Obviously there were mainly questions which arose, and there were also some very clear positions expressed in one direction or another, but the whole point is that the delegations have many questions and they want to understand just what are the implications of this additional power granted to the members states.”
The European Commission formally proposed giving EU member states the right to ban or allow the cultivation of GM food on their territory in July.
Since then, the proposal has come under much fire in the European Parliament, with Portuguese green MEP Marisa Matias and others raising concerns that national bans on products approved for cultivation across the EU may be vulnerable to legal challenges, perhaps at the World Trade Organisation.
A further exchange of views is expected to take place at the next Environment Council on 14 October.