New EU GMO approval system could open door to Britain, other countries approving more GE crops

| | January 12, 2015
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You could call it a victory for common sense. The European Parliament is expected to confirm an astonishing departure from Brussels’s usual insistence on uniformity, and allow member states to make up their own minds on a vital, controversial issue.

The extraordinary development, described as “liberating” by some experts – but attacked by others as “undermining” the single market – aims to break a 15-year deadlock in growing GM crops. For all that time, an unbridgeable chasm between pro-GM and anti-GM countries has prevented Brussels from approving any new modified varieties for cultivation, even when they have passed the European Commission’s own scientific assessments.

Just one – a Monsanto GM maize, authorised in 1998 before the stalemate struck – is grown, mainly in Spain and Portugal. Other pro-GM governments, the UK and the Netherlands, would like to see many more varieties approved and growing in their soils. But they have been frustrated by determined opponents of the technology – France, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria – who have blocked the qualified majority required in Brussels to give the go-ahead.

Now, after four years of tricky negotiations, a partial solution is in sight. Due to be rubber stamped by the parliament on Tuesday, it will allow anti-GM nations to ban the modified crops from their territories outright. The hope, and expectation, is that – reassured they will remain free of them – they will stop blocking approvals and thus allow those that want to grow them to proceed.

Read full, original article: The EU might finally be close to a grand bargain on GM crops

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