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News

German Bundestag votes for national self-determination on GMO cultivation


The German Bundestag is calling for self-determination of Member States in relation to the cultivation of genetically modified plants. On 21 May, it asked the German government to “create legal options for national opt-outs”.  Germany will therefore speak out in favour of national cultivation bans at the meeting of the EU Council of Ministers scheduled for June. This will remove the blocking minority at EU level that has so far prevented the adoption of an opt-out clause.

The German parliament supports the opt-out concept for GMO crop cultivation.

Currently the EU has the power to approve GMO crops for Europe-wide cultivation, but is moving towards an opt-out policy that would allow individual countries to ban GM crops.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had indicated an about-turn in her governments’ policies regarding genetic engineering a few days earlier. Acknowledging that expert reports had repeatedly confirmed that using genetically modified plants was safe from a scientific point of view, the Chancellor admitted that there would be no political majority for the application of genetic engineering for the foreseeable future, and said the German government must take that into account.

At the moment it is not clear how exactly such national bans will be justified and implemented. Under the current leadership of the Greek Presidency, the Member States want to negotiate a diplomatic solution that could win the necessary majorities in the Council of Ministers as well as the European Parliament. The proposal put forward by the German government coalition does not give any details either. It calls on the German government to “strengthen the right of self-determination of the Member States” and to “create legal options for national opt-outs from GMO cultivation”. Such opt-outs “should be possible at any time without providing new objective reasons”.

This does not amount to a general prohibition of plant genetic engineering. In future every country will have to decide on a case-by-case basis whether cultivation of a particular plant should be limited or prohibited. So far, it is unclear whether these prohibitions should apply nationwide in Germany or whether each federal state should decide for itself. Christian Schmidt (CSU), the German Agriculture Minister, announced in the German Bundestag that he wanted to define a legal basis quickly.


An EU Research Project

What are the risks of growing GM crops?

What are the benefits?

Numerous studies have addressed the potential impacts of genetically modified (GM) plants. Yet the existing evidence on the effects of GM plants is often contradictory and the quality of scientific research varies widely.

Therefore, the GRACE project will establish new tools for assessing the quality of existing studies and will conduct comprehensive reviews to identify health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants.

More information


Videos:

GMO Soybeans & Sustainability

Less soil erosion and fuel consumption: herbicide tolerant soybeans are promoting sustainable cultivation methods.

 

Glyphosate in European agriculture

Interview with a farmer



Glyphosate containing herbicides are not only used in fields with GM crops. They also allow conventional farmers to sow directly into stubble fields without ploughing. Glyphosate has replaced mechanical weed control in many crops and has had an important impact on agricultural practices and crop yields in Europe over the past few decades.

Source:
European Glyphosate Task Force

Animation: The Authorisation Process in Motion!
Applying, consulting, and making a decision: The long and winding road to GMO authorisation in EU
start animation
 Biosafety research:

Impact of Bt maize on
insect communities


Impact of Bt maize on
honey bees

More videos

May 22, 2014 [nach oben springen]

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