GMO news related to Belgium

15.11.2017

The EU glyphosate timeline

9 November 2017

A new Commission proposal for a 5-year, unrestricted glyphosate licence fails to receive the support of a qualified majority of EU countries.

To come:

27 November 2017

The Commission is to present and possibly amend its proposal for a 5-year, unrestricted glyphosate licence in the appeals committee of higher level member state representatives.

End of November 2017

EFSA is to publish an opinion on the impact of glyphosate residues in feed on animal health, and a review of maximum residue levels in food and feed.

Early December 2017

The Commission is to take a final decision based on the appeal committee vote by EU governments. In July, European Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said: “I wanted to make clear that the Commission has no intention to reapprove this substance without the support of a qualified majority of member states. This is and will remain a shared responsibility”.

15 December 2017 The current EU approval for glyphosate expires.

10.11.2017

EU hits deadlock over Roundup herbicide license extension

BRUSSELS • European Union countries deadlocked on Thursday on the future of weedkiller glyphosate that some experts say causes cancer, with the European Commission urging them to reconsider its proposal to allow its use to continue for five years.

Europe has been wrestling for two years over what to do with the chemical, a key ingredient in Monsanto Co.'s top-selling weedkiller Roundup.

The chemical has been used by farmers for more than 40 years, but its use was cast in doubt when the World Health Organization's cancer agency concluded in 2015 it probably causes cancer.

The European Chemical Agency said in March this year, however, there was no evidence linking it to cancer in humans.

On Thursday, the European Union's 28 countries failed to approve or reject the Commission's proposal for a five-year extension to the license allowing glyphosate to be used.

Fourteen countries voted in favor, nine against and five abstained, not enough to secure a "qualified majority" under EU voting rules, the Commission said, adding that it would resubmit its proposal by the end of November, before the current authorization expires on Dec. 15.

10.11.2017

Glyphosate deadlock remains, with clear lack of political support for reapproval

EU Member States today failed to agree on the renewal of the herbicide Glyphosate, after a proposal from the European Commission to extend its license for five years. Its current license for use in the EU runs out on December 15.

Adrian Bebb, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Overwhelming public pressure is paying off, with a clear lack of political support to extend the licence for glyphosate. This weedkiller locks in reckless industrial farming, damages nature and probably causes cancer. When the final decision comes around, there's only one responsible option – take it off the market immediately, and support farmers to help them get off the chemical treadmill."

09.11.2017

EU governments reject Commission push for glyphosate |

Brussels - European governments have again refused to support a European Commission plan to grant a shortened but unrestricted licence for glyphosate, Europe’s most widely used weedkiller that has been linked to cancer and environmental harm.

The Commission is now expected to take the same proposal to a vote in the so-called appeals committee, where it is also expected to fail. Thereafter, the Commission has the power to adopt its own proposal without the backing of European governments.

09.11.2017

EU fails again to agree glyphosate renewal

Member states divided

In order to find a deal, member states have to reach a qualified majority. This means that 55 percent of the EU countries, representing 65 percent of the European population, have to agree on the proposal.

Out of the 28 EU member states, 14 voted in favour of the five-year proposal, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia and United Kingdom.

The same countries, with the addition of Romania and Poland (now abstaining) had backed the previous 10-years proposal, with Spain initially not willing to accept years as a renewal time.

On the other hand, nine EU members states voted against the proposal, namely Belgium, Greece, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, and Austria.

France was willing to further reduce the five-year proposal.

The five member states that abstained comprised Germany (where talks to form a government coalition that would include the Greens party are underway), as well as Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and Romania.

09.11.2017

EU fails to agree licence renewal for controversial glyphosate weedkiller

With a deadline just weeks away, the European Union failed Thursday to break a hardening stalemate on whether to renew the licence for the widely-used weedkiller glyphosate, which critics fear causes cancer.

The European Commission said it fell short of the majority needed to renew the license for five years when it expires December 15, as only half of the 28 member states voted for its proposal.

"Given that a qualified majority could not be reached ... the result of the vote is 'no opinion,'" said the commission, the EU's executive and regulatory arm.

The latest result was hailed by environmental campaigners, including those who rallied outside EU headquarters to mock US agro-food giant Monsanto, the maker of the best-selling glyphosate product Roundup.

"Today we have seen that the seventh attempt of the European Commission to renew Glyphosate has failed again," said Luis Morago, Avaaz campaign director.

"Monsanto wanted 15 more years and they can't even get five."

The European Commission, which had originally recommended approving the herbicide's use for another decade, said it will now submit its proposal to an appeals committee by the end of November.

09.11.2017

EU fails to agree on glyphosate license renewal

The European Commission has again hit a wall in renewing the approval for the weedkiller glyphosate. The vote comes after 18 months of agonizing over the controversial herbicide.

The European Union on Thursday voted on whether to prolong the use of the common but controversial herbicide glyphosate within its borders, but failed to reach a consensus.

The proposal to renew the EU license for glyphosate for another five years failed to a reach a qualified majority, meaning a decision has again been postponed, according to lawmakers. The current license is due to expire on December 15, but there is an 18 month grace period.

Fourteen countries voted in favor of the renewal, nine against, while five, including Germany, abstained from voting. The proposal could now be referred to an appeal committee, or alternatively the Commission could draw up a new proposal to be voted upon.

"No qualified majority for glyphosate renewal in vote today," said Luxembourg's Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg on Twitter. Belgian Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme confirmed the result.

28.09.2017

Group Presidents to withdraw access to Monsanto lobbyists

At their meeting today, the parliamentary leaders in the European Parliament decided to withdrawn access to lobbyists and other representatives of the Monsanto group from the United States until further notice. The President of the Parliament has been given the task of informing the group accordingly. The Greens/EFA Group had requested this after Monsanto declined to attend Parliament for a hearing on the Monsanto Papers.

Greens/EFA Group president Philippe Lamberts comments:

"Those who ignore the rules of democracy also lose their rights as a lobbyist in the European Parliament. US corporations must also accept the democratic control function of the parliament. Monsanto cannot escape this. There remain many uncertainties in the assessment of the pesticide glyphosate. Monsanto has to face the questions of parliamentarians and should not hinder the clarification process."

28.09.2017

Monsanto banned from European parliament

MEPs withdraw parliamentary access after the firm shunned a hearing into allegations that it unduly influenced studies into the safety of glyphosate used in its RoundUp weedkiller

Monsanto lobbyists have been banned from entering the European parliament after the multinational refused to attend a parliamentary hearing into allegations of regulatory interference.

It is the first time MEPs have used new rules to withdraw parliamentary access for firms that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or hearings.

Monsanto officials will now be unable to meet MEPs, attend committee meetings or use digital resources on parliament premises in Brussels or Strasbourg.

While a formal process still needs to be worked through, a spokesman for the parliament’s president Antonio Tajani said that the leaders of all major parliamentary blocks had backed the ban in a vote this morning.

“One has to assume it is effective immediately,” he said.

MEPs had been incensed at a Monsanto decision to shun a hearing organised by the environment and agriculture committees, with academics, regulators and campaigners, on 11 October.

The meeting is expected to hear allegations that Monsanto unduly influenced regulatory studies into the safety of glyphosate, a key ingredient in its best-selling RoundUp weedkiller.

28.09.2017

Products of new GM techniques must be strictly regulated as GMOs, say scientists

Risks of new GM techniques include toxic food crops and ecological harm, says a statement signed by over 60 scientists

The products of new genetic modification techniques (NGMTs) are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should be strictly regulated as such, according to a statement released today by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).

The statement challenges claims by proponents that these new GM techniques (often called New Plant Breeding Techniques or NPBTs) are so precise and controllable that their products are not genetically modified organisms in the usual sense and do not pose any greater risks than their non-GMO counterparts. Proponents are arguing for deregulation of the products of new GM techniques at the European level. This would mean that these products would not undergo a mandatory safety assessment and would not carry a GMO label.

However, according to the ENSSER statement, which is currently signed by over 60 international scientists, scientific evidence shows that these techniques (including CRISPR-Cas/Cpf to oligonucleotide directed mutagenesis, cisgenesis, and RNA-dependent DNA methylation) “are highly prone to off-target effects”. In the case of food crops produced with these techniques, that could lead to unexpected toxicity or allergenicity.