At the Council of Ministers for the Environment meeting in Luxembourg on 12 June, the twenty-eight Member States of the European Union authorised legislation allowing States to ban GMOs on their territory. Only decisions on whether or not to cultivate a transgenic seed will be taken at European level, as is currently the case.
According to current legislation, the States can oppose transgenic cultivation on environmental or hygiene grounds. From now on, the States can also invoke “the objectives of agricultural, environmental and public policies” or “socio-economic impacts“.
However, some newspapers point out that the States can no longer mention arguments relating to health and the environment.
For Tonio Borg, Health Commissioner in charge of this issue, this green light for the States represents “a major step for the States who insist on having the last word regarding GMOs“. The draft legislation is also welcomed by Ségolène Royale, French Minister for the Environment: “The new system gives the States the option to choose whether or not to cultivate“.
If the States reach a compromise, the legislation still has to be presented to the European Parliament prior to final adoption in early 2015.