Go back

GM law must give states more freedom, say Commission studies

EU law on genetically modified organisms must provide more flexibility and freedom, say two studies ordered by the European Commission.

“These reports confirm that the problems of implementation of the GMO legislation do not stem from its design or its objectives, which remain relevant, but rather from the way these sensitive issues are handled at a political level,” health commissioner John Dalli commented in a statement.

The first study says that EU law on GM cultivation fails to meet its own objectives and Europe’s needs. “Dissatisfaction and frustration are widespread,” the authors say.

In particular, the report reveals that applications for GM field trials have declined since 2006, and are now concentrated in fewer countries because application procedures are too difficult.

The second study is more positive, but says that GM law has caused Europe to lose its leadership in agricultural biotechnology as it sought to address public concerns.

In July 2010, the Commission proposed to let member states take individual decisions to ban or allow GM crops on their territory. Both the biotech industry and environmental groups criticised the plan (see RE 22/07/10).

The European Parliament approved a widened version of the plan in July this year. The Council of Ministers must also vote on the proposal.

The evaluation of GM cultivation legislation was submitted to the Commission in March 2011 and the report on GM food and feed law in July 2010.