The agriculture committee on Thursday rejected the Commission's draft law that would give member states the power to restrict or prohibit the use of EU-approved GM food or feed on their territory. It fears that arbitrary national bans could distort competition on the EU's single market and jeopardise the Union's food production sectors which are heavily dependent on imports of GM feed.
The agriculture committee's opinion, adopted by 28 votes in favour to eight against, with six abstentions, will now be scrutinised by the environment committee, which has the lead on this file, before the Parliament as a whole votes on the matter.
'Today's vote in the agriculture committee sends a clear message: the Commission's proposal to allow member states to decide whether or not to restrict or ban the use of GM food and feed on their territory must be rejected. We have not been building the EU's single market to let arbitrary political decisions distort it completely,' said the draftsman of the opinion, Albert Dess (EPP, DE).
'The Commission's approach is completely unrealistic. We have many sectors in the EU that rely to a great extent on imports of GM feed and would not be able to survive if it is banned. If we allowed this, then all animal food production in the EU would be at stake, which could make us much more dependent on food imports from third countries that do not necessarily respect our high production standards. And we certainly want to avoid this,' he added.
The environment committee, the lead committee for this draft law, will adopt its position at its meeting on 12 and 13 October. Parliament could then scrutinise the proposal at the 26-29 October plenary session in Strasbourg.