Resolution adopted at Zagreb Council, 15-17 May 2015
The full text can be downloaded in .pdf here.
The EU must respect and base its policy on the precautionary principle and take into account the established and legitimate opposition to this controversial technology. At a time when American consumers and farmers are beginning to realize the negative effects of an agricultural system based on biotechnology, Europe must not abandon the most logical approach that has been defended by Europeans for decades and follow the precautionary principle.
The European Parliament has recently adopted an agreement for a new system, that will bring GMOs into the EU arena. It did so with a large majority that was formed among the European People's Party, the Social Democrats and the Liberals. The European Greens voted against this new regime, as this will ‘renationalise’ EU policies, instead of addressing the undemocratic authorisation procedure and reforming the risk assessment process.
The European Greens harshly criticised the new Directive on GMO regulation, since it aims at making Member States agree to EU authorisations, thus facilitating GMO acceptance to cultivation in the EU, in exchange for the possibility of banning cultivation in some territories afterwards.
Member states that are opposed to the use of GMOs are, in fact, given incentives to ban cultivation on their territories, however, the system that was adopted to do so gives them no legally sound basis for such a decision.
The EGP considers a reform to the EU's GMO approval process as the most critical issue in this regard. We cannot accept the current situation, in which permits are approved despite incorrect risk assessments. This is especially true when consistent opposition is presented by the majority of EU member states in the Council, and the majority of EU citizens.
The solution to this problem cannot be a game of give and take, on the one hand easing GMO-approvals and on the other hand easing national bans. This agreement threatens to open the door to GMOs throughout Europe.
Together with MEPs from the Green and other political families, Ecologists Greens (Oikologoi Prasinoi) has previously resisted the Commission’s manipulation, which aims to undemocratically impose the cultivation of GMOs in Europe..
Since the Greek Presidency was unable to exercise an independent policy due to it being forced into the humiliating support of GMO lobbying. This time round, things are more serious.
During the EU Presidency in the first half of 2014, the Greek government, either by complete ignorance or for reasons more suspicious, seems to have contributed to the European Commission’s efforts at reopening, after many years, the back door to genetically modified corn varieties. They not only bowed down to pressure from big businesses, but also went against the environmental protection and against the health of European consumers. Just prior to the Greek term being completed, the European Commission tried to impose new varieties of GMOs, despite citizens being largely opposed to these "mutants" in their diet.
Nevertheless, European citizens, who in a vast majority refuse to accept the forced consumption of GMO’s, can make a difference and stop them once more.
The EGP believes that the decision concerning the status of GMOs in Europe will turn the EU into a fragmented mosaic, when what we really need is a common approach. The EGP therefore asks all of the European member states to take upon the necessary, binding initiatives that will ban GMOs in Europe, once and for all.
The EGP calls for a comprehensive review of EU legislation on GMOs, and a review into the way in which they impact health and the environment. Until such a review is complete, no approvals for the cultivation of GMOs in the EU should proceed.
Keeping the precautionary principle in force is vital for preventing unintended genetic modifications of unmodified crops and species. Aside of the danger of modified genetic material being transferred to non-modified genetic animal and plant stocks in agriculture, we must prevent the transfer of genetically modified genomic material to other, non-agricultural species unintentionally, without any possibility to predict or control their effects. The potential commercial or nutritional benefits are not in any rational proportion to the ecological and health risks generated by loosening the current European control of using genetically modified organisms especially in agriculture.
The coincidence of the ongoing TTIP and CETA negotiations with simultaneous degrading of separately legislated GMO standards in the EU may have much more than an arithmetic effect on the EU-level control of GMO-related agriculture and industrial production. When the European citizens' abilities to control the ecological and health risks of the GMO´s are weakened in both directions, the risk effect and the weakening of the control measures may be merely exponential, because of their negative synergy. This will increase the profitability of land grabbing for GMO production.
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