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Member states can say no to GMOs


12 Apr 2011


Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

MEP Sabine Wils (GUE/NGL, Germany), a member of the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) welcomed stronger provisions that should allow member states to restrict or ban outright the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their territory, after MEPs voted in favour of the Lepage report in the European Parliament this morning.


"With this compromise, member states now have an arsenal of valid legal arguments that they can use when challenged by international commercial partners," said Ms Wils. "Regretfully, some of our initial demands, like the inclusion of health concerns, were not carried through in the compromises," she added.


The Lepage report deals with the possibility for member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of GMOs on their territory. It provides for stronger flexibility to do so, but unfortunately does not stress the principle of precaution on GMOs.


GUE/NGL amendments sought a stronger regulation that would provide member states with the possibility to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs if they so wished, without the danger of having to bring a weak case to the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the European Court of Justice (ECJ).  GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur, Kartika Liotard (the Netherlands), participated in negotiations and co-signed a compromise package and amendments along with other political groups.


The initial Commission proposal was widely criticized for its lack of valid legal arguments that member states could use to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs. The main argument against the proposal was that it could easily result in a de facto obligation for member states to grow GMOs if challenged by the WTO.  Both the Parliament's and the Council's Legal Services expressed their doubts on the validity of the legal arguments provided by this draft regulation as regards the Union's international obligations.


Some 61% of EU citizens say they are opposed to GMOs, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey of public opinion in the EU.

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left/
Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group


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