EU Countries File to Ban GMO Crops


Nineteen of the 28 European Union member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory. The decision is in accordance with the October 3rd deadline for opting out of the use of GM crops, already authorized as safe for cultivation, or under consideration by the EU.

The countries include Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia. Belgium has opted to keep its French-speaking Wallonia region GMO-free as well. These EU members join Britain, who is also seeking a ban for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, leaving England the only country willingly allowing GM crop cultivation.

However, national demands must be put to the big agricultural multinationals that have the right to oppose calls to ban GM products from individual member states. If they do so, the next step for member states is to invoke "substantial grounds," which could be based on specific environmental or agricultural issues to uphold the ban.

This crucial legislation allows member states to ban GMOs on environmental policy considerations, even if the crop has already been cleared on health and safety grounds at the EU level.