Written by Tyler R. Etter
Luxembourg, Malta, and Slovenia are the most recent EU members to state their intentions to ban the cultivation of GMO crops within their territory. This brings the total to 19 member states that plan to exercise the option.
The so-called “option 1” allows for a member state to tell the European Commission to have a company exclude that member nation or region from the scope of authorization for the specified crops. The company has the right to refuse, but then a member state may then decide to exercise “option 2”, which would be a wider ban on GMO cultivation. So far, only one maize product, MON810, has approval in the EU, but there are 9 new varieties in the pipeline.
EuropaBio has called the recent bans a “stop sign for agricultural innovation.” The biotech group believes that it limits the freedoms of European farmers to choose the technology and products they will employ on their farms. The group says that “this run[s] counter to the idea of a common European market.”
Although there are NGOs welcoming the news of the ban, Bart Staes, a spokesperson for the European Parliament’s Greens group, warned of concerns of the authorizations. He stated that the legal framework is not water-tight, and that member states that opt-out of cultivation may face challenges by biotech companies.