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Danish Proposal on GM Law Reform Fails to Find Favour

Immediate release (12 Mar 2012)

Calls to: Pete Riley 07903 341 065

Proposals from the Danish Presidency to reform the EU legislation on approving GM crops for cultivation failed to reach a qualified majority at Friday’s Environment Council first reading. [1]

The Danes had previously said they wanted the proposals to go through at first reading or they would not pursue them any further in their six-month Presidency. The next Presidency will be held by Cyprus, which bans GM cultivation and did not support the Danish compromise text.

Ten Member States, including the UK, Germany, Spain and France, declined support for the Dane’s compromise proposals intended to allow countries the final decision on whether to approve GM crops for cultivation in their territories.

The main reasons for opposing were:

  • The lack of legal certainty for Member States wishing to ban GM crops.
  • The proposals would break the EU internal market.
  • Failure to deal with outstanding legal and procedural issues raised by the Environment Council in 2008, including GM contamination thresholds in seeds.

Commenting Pete Riley, Campaign Director of GM Freeze, said:

Clearly many Member States remain concerned that the Danish text did not provide the legal certainty required to invoke GM cultivation bans, and others were not convinced the proposals were in harmony with the internal market.

We welcome this outcome as it gives Member States the opportunity to strengthen the proposals to ensure countries who wish to ban GM crops have a clear, legally sound basis for doing so. Any proposal must address the need to protect farmers, growers and beekeeper from GM contamination in countries permitting GM cultivation, including placing strict liability for all harm on the companies that market GM seed.

We welcome the principle that countries should be able to decide what they grow and eat, particularly as the majority of citizens remain opposed to the introduction of GMOs. To secure this choice we must prevent GM contamination creeping into Europe’s fields or seeds, and place liability with GM companies where it belongs.


[1] GM Freeze press release, 5 March 2012. UK Must Reject Danish GM Reforms