On Friday, the representatives of the 28 EU member states refused to authorise the cultivation of three genetically modified seeds. They have also refused to sign up to the seeds’ prohibition. The member states decided to leave this decision in the hands of the European Commission, the latter says.
The vote was organised by the European Executive within a specific technical committee. This is the first of its kind, since new legislation adopted in 2015 came into force. This allowed member states to request prohibition in all or part of their particular state of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) culture.
Seventeen member states (Bulgaria, Germany, Cyprus, Latvia, Greece, Croatia, France, Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Italy, Slovenia, Malta, Luxembourg and Denmark) have thus decided to refuse GMO culture. Equally so have four regions, being Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Wallonia.
Currently, the MON 810, made by the major player Monsanto, is the only authorised GMO in the EU. The licence holder since 1998, MON 810 is grown in Spain, Portugal and, to a lesser extent, in the Czech Republic.
Since then, all attempts to introduce other GMOs cultures have failed, faced with opposition from member states. The situation is different concerning the importing and marketing of GMOs.
Today the vote revolved around the renewal of the licence for maize by Monsanto, as well as the licensing of two new types of modified maize seed, developed by the companies DuPont and Syngenta.
A spokesperson for the Commission announced in a short communiqué “With no qualified majority, either in favour of or against the licensing, no result has been achieved.”
A number of member states, who used the withdrawal provision, voted against the licences in this case, stated the spokesperson, concluding, “It now falls to the Commission to reflect upon the next stages.”
Several NGOs made known their growing concern before the vote.