Green Party defends Europe’s simultaneous ban on gene-edited crops and use of biotech in medicine

Credit: Beyond GM

[Editor’s note: In June a faction of Germany’s Green Party argued it was time the EU revised its strict regulation of gene-edited crops. Party officials have since announced the Greens don’t support such regulatory reform.]

The paper, published by a faction of German Greens on 10 June, offered their support for genetic engineering, saying it could play a key role in improving sustainability, and called for a reconsideration of EU regulation on genetic engineering.

This was the first time that such a dissenting position came from within the Greens and raised questions as to whether the tide is changing in the party.

But [Martin Häusling, agriculture spokesman for the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament] strongly denied this, saying that there is “no momentum building for new genetically modified organisms (GMOs)”.

Related article:  Brave new world? Why the public might be ready for gene-edited babies

While he admitted that there have been debates and that it is “only fair” that this technology is assessed from different angles, he maintained that the “vast majority of Greens in Germany – and Europe – are undoubtedly against deregulation of new GMOs”.

The paper also makes a point about inconsistencies …. highlighting that while GM technology is regularly used in medicine, it is not permitted for agriculture.

Commenting on the idea that the EU’s stance is inconsistent in this respect, Häusling …. explained that the main difference between [medical] technologies and genetically modified crops grown on the field is that the use is limited to the patient and does not “escape into nature”.

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