Conservative MEPs campaign to lift unscientific barriers to GM farming

11-Nov-2014 @ 14:45

Julie Girling Julie Girling

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Conservative MEPs today voted against unworkable European Parliament proposals to allow member states to introduce national bans on the cultivation of safe, EU-approved genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

A package of measures on GMOs was approved by the European Parliament's Environment Committee, but Conservatives vowed to maintain their opposition.

Conservative environment spokesman Julie Girling MEP said: ""The Parliament's position on GM cultivation risks inflicting untold damage to robust, science-based policy-making in Europe. We strongly oppose these proposals and voted against them today. We will continue to oppose them."

"The EU Council's idea of letting of letting member states seek an op-out before taking the more extreme measure  of individually banning certain GMOs on their own soil makes sense. It strikes a fair balance between those that may want to avoid GM cultivation and those that do not.

"The opt-out is quick, simple and legally certain. But it also allows a fair way forward to avoid holding back member states which want to adopt GM cultivation.

"This should be about fixing the current blockage in the approvals process for GM cultivation. But the rapporteur's suggestions would make it difficult, if not impossible, to agree.

"GM crops offer a great potential for growth and jobs in the EU while protecting the environment. Currently we are not able to access these crops because of the political block on approvals at the EU level. The aim of the negotiations is to change that. We need access to these crops to encourage investment and ensure European farming remains competitive."

"There is a single market in European agriculture. This means that farmers across the EU should be working on a level playing field...and bear in mind that half of the EU budget is spent on agriculture.

"The Parliament's proposal to allow some member states to refuse to allow their farmers to cultivate certain crops on non-scientific grounds, drives a coach and horses through this single market.

 "We are always being told that we cannot have special conditions for the UK on issues such as free movement, so why should we agree to allow countries like Austria and Slovenia to go their own way on a fundamental single market issue?"


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