Commission's GM cave-in: submission dressed up as subsidiarity

22-Apr-2015 @ 16:30

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Conservative MEP's reacted angrily today to EU Commission plans to let individual countries ban GM food and animal feed.

Environment spokesman Julie Girling said the announcement lacked consistency and courage.

She was speaking after the Commission presented the outcome of its review of the decision-making process for the authorisation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) as food and feed. It said the review confirmed the need for changes "that reflect public views and allow national governments to have a greater say on the use of EU-authorised GMOs for animal (feed) or human (food) consumption."

As a result of this review, the Commission proposed to amend the legislation to confer upon Member States more freedom to restrict, or prohibit the use of EU-authorised GMOs in food or feed on their territory.

Mrs Girling believes decisions to allow or restrict the cultivation and sale of GM food should be based purely on scientific assessment of their benefits or potential risks.

She said:  "GMOs authorised at EU level by the food safety watchdog EFSA are already deemed safe. It is a dark day when the EU's executive is happy to sit by and watch its own basic freedoms, trade commitments, farmers and consumers suffer while ignoring the scientific advice that taxpayers themselves are paying for.

"It shows the Commission sadly lacks the backbone to stand up to a few anti-GM Member States.  The proposal will ride roughshod over the basic principles of free movement of goods within the Single Market. It is submission dressed up as subsidiarity.

"The proposal to re-nationalise decision-making on cultivation was one thing, and did at least unblock a legislative logjam over allowing GM crops to be grown. But now we are talking about effectively preventing imports of animal feed which many farmers rely on to feed their livestock.

"The EU imports over 70% its animal feed as it cannot produce sufficient quantities of protein-rich feeds for climatic and agronomic reasons. This isn't just an attack on GMOs, but also an ideological attack on free trade and the conventional and intensive farming sectors.

"The Commission never wastes any time in insisting the free movement of people, an issue of great concern to European citizens, must remain sacrosanct – but they are only too willing to get in the way of the free movement of goods which is equally part of our treaties."

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