EU Set to Approve GM Maize 1507 Despite Rejection by 19 Countries?

Posted on Feb 11 2014 - 5:38pm by Sustainable Pulse

The EU has failed to act on behalf of the vast majority of its country members on Tuesday and has left the door open for the now expected approval of the EU’s second GM crop for cultivation – GM Maize 1507.

In a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council nineteen states opposed the approval of  GM Maize Pioneer 1507, developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical, while five supported it and four abstained from any view, EU officials said.

Can the EU Commission really take a decision which goes against the wishes of 19 of its member states… only time will tell!

The EU countries made their positions known in a public debate Tuesday, but stopped short of a formal vote. Under the EU weighted voting system, the level of opposition is not enough for a clear rejection, leaving the decision in the hands of the Commission.

Technically, a failure by member states to decide was reported to pave the way for the probable approval by the Commission. However, this approval is still not 100% certain, especially after it was announced that the GM cultivation proposal will be discussed at the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) meeting on March 3.

Of the most prominent member states, France has been vehemently opposed to the new GM maize, while Britain has backed it, arguing that Britain risked becoming “the museum of world farming”. Germany announced last week it would abstain.

GM Maize 1507 would be the first GM maize to be allowed for cultivation in Europe since 1998.

Back then, it was Monsanto’s infamous Bt-maize (MON810), producing its own insecticides. This time 1507  is also a Bt-maize, made by Pioneer, but one that has in addition been made tolerant to a powerful weedkiller (glufosinate-based, like Liberty). This weedkiller is classified as highly toxic by the EU.

The failure of the EU member countries to reach agreement is in vast contrast to the January 16 European Parliament (EP) vote which had clearly rejected GM Maize 1507 with 385 against the authorisation, 201 in favour, 30 abstentions.

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7 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Robert Torres February 11, 2014 at 21:40 - Reply

    This if it passes only means Monsanto got to the decision makers! (EU)! How Sad for the people!

  2. Brian John February 12, 2014 at 00:23 - Reply

    Actually there isn’t a vast contrast. If you look at the voting intentions, there is also a 2:1 ratio against authorisation. Although there were only 5 states in favour of authorisation and 19 opposed, the population weighting gives 176 votes against and 77 votes for, with 99 abstentions. Those were the main problem — if Germany had voted against, and pulled two or three others with it, things might have been sorted….. but abstentions effectively count as “yes” votes. Perfectly idiotic.

  3. sheelagh Hanly February 12, 2014 at 01:37 - Reply

    This is not democratic but then, when was Europe prepared to accept the democratic process; even when countries voted NO to Nice, they had to go back and vote YES under the bullying that passed for debate.
    This, of course is a very serious matter and the countries abstaining should be ashamed that they haven’t the courage to put their cards on the table.

  4. Bob Phelps February 12, 2014 at 08:28 - Reply

    This is happening just when: “American Farmers Abandoning Genetically Modified Seeds: “Non-GMO Crops are more Productive and Profitable””. GM canola planting is also in decline in the Eastern states of Australia, after 5 years of commercialisation. Recent research also shows that: “US Genetically Engineered Agriculture is Outclassed by Europe’s Non-GM Approach” Download the perr-reviewed and published paper here. The EU is being stampeded by US trade threats.

  5. Russ February 12, 2014 at 11:53 - Reply

    We can see a clear hierarchy of lessening democracy and intensifying corporate rule: The people oppose GMOs; the Parliament strongly votes against 1507’s cultivation; the Council votes against it by a lesser margin (with several pro-GM governments abstaining; because of political pressure from below?); the Commission and its EFSA certainly want to approve it.

    If the TTIP is ratified this will impose an even more purely corporatist layer on top of the Commission.

    There’s the hierarchy of corporate totalitarianism. 1507’s “approval” process is a good case study.

  6. Inger Lannero March 15, 2014 at 13:00 - Reply

    What can we do??? I feel absolutely mortified that GM crops would come to Britain after seeing what these crops have done in South America and India.

    • Sustainable Pulse March 15, 2014 at 13:23 - Reply

      Hi Inger,

      We suggest you join one of the many groups doing great work to fight GM Crops in the UK – including GM Freeze and GM-Free Cymru.

      Best Wishes,
      Sustainable Pulse Team

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