GMO news related to Belgium

11.01.2017 |

Citizens’ initiative aimed at banning glyphosate gets the go-ahead

Brussels has agreed to the launch of a European Citizens’ Initiative on banning glyphosate in the EU. EurActiv France reports.

The controversy over the authorisation of the chemical glyphosate could find its way back to the European Commission’s table through a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) supported by environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace.

The European executive yesterday (10 January) announced the reception of an ECI inviting the Commission to “propose to member states a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use”.

Simply titled ‘Ban Glyphosate’, the initiative will be officially registered on 25 January. From this date, EU citizens will have 12 months in which to add their signature to the document.

One million signatures

11.01.2017 |

MEPs want to see more glyphosate data

EFSA continues "to withhold sections of the studies that, in our view, are crucial for an independent assessment”, say MEPs

The four Green MEPs who requested access to unpublished industry studies on glyphosate have put in a second request to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) asking for more information.

In their letter to Dirk Detken, the head of legal and regulatory affairs at EFSA, MEPs Heidi Hautala, Benedek Jávor, Michèle Rivasi and Bart Staes say that they welcome the fact that EFSA sent them the unpublished raw data on the genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of glyphosate, and EFSA’s recognition that their motivation was to allow independent scrutiny of the data.

19.12.2016 |

Say no to GMO: Tell your Ministries to block 3 genetically modified maize from entering EU fields!

No new GM plants have been authorised for cultivation in the EU in almost 20 years. In the coming weeks, the European Commission will submit to the Member States’ experts three draft regulations aimed at the authorisation for cultivation in the EU of two GM maize varieties (Bt11 and 1507) and at the renewal of one further variety- Mon 810. There is a high risk that these regulations will pass, even though a clear majority of EU citizens is against the use of biotechnologies in fields and food.

The European Parliament has already made its view clear, as it objected to these three authorization proposals back at the beginning of October. The responsibility is now in the hands of the Member States to do likewise, and you can make the difference!

07.10.2016 |

Risky GM maize back on EU's table

Two untested varieties of genetically modified (GM) maize could find their way on to European fields with potentially negative impacts on nature, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.

The European Commission will soon initiate a vote on whether Syngenta's Bt11 and Pioneer's 1507 maize should be grown in the European Union, despite incomplete safety tests. If approved, these would be the first new GM crops legally authorised for cultivation in the EU in almost 20 years, at a time when biotech companies are merging to consolidate their control on the food chain.

The European Parliament vote today on their position on the GM maize proposals.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "European farming needs urgent support to make it greener, safer and better for farmers. We need to break away from even more corporate control in order to increase our sovereignty so that we can feed future generations sustainably. GM crops have no place in our food and farming and there is no reason to open the door for more to be grown."

03.10.2016 |

Commission to seek approval for three GM maizes: ENVI adopts 5 GMO objections

The European Commission and a handful of EU governments want

Europe to grow more genetically modified (GM) crops. In the coming months, they want to authorisethe cultivation of two GM maize varieties (DuPont Pioneer’s 1507 and Syngenta’s Bt11), and to renew the licence for another maize (Monsanto’s maize MON810), the only GM crop currently grown in the EU.

The proposed authorisations would only be valid in 9 out of 28 European Union (EU) countries, as well as in three regions (England in the UK, Flanders and the Brussels region in Belgium). The rest of EU countries and the remaining four regions in the UK and Belgium were excluded under the EU’s new opt-out mechanism. The Commission is hoping that EU governments will accept GM crops so long as they are not grown in their territories.

Franziska Achterberg, EU Food Policy Director for Greenpeace, said: “GM crops have no place in sustainable farming. Rightly, the majority of EU governments and parliamentarians have rejected them.

23.09.2016 |

Bratislava climber protest ends week of mobilisation against EU trade deals

Greenpeace warns trade ministers not to feed EU resentment with misguided decisions on trade

Press release - September 23, 2016

Bratislava/Brussels – A daring protest high above the Slovak capital on Friday morning concluded an intense week of mobilisation across Europe against EU trade deals with Canada (known as CETA) and the US (known as TTIP). Greenpeace called on EU trade ministers meeting in Bratislava today to oppose the deals and put the protection of people and planet ahead of trade.

Ten climbers from Austria, Slovakia and Croatia scaled the imposing UFO tower on the Bridge of the National Uprising over the Danube to display a 2.5 by 10-metre banner reading “NO TTIP”. The futuristic tower faces Bratislava castle and stands 85 metres above the old town, where the ministers are meeting.

Immediately before the tower protest, demonstrators representing a broad coalition of NGOs and trade unions marched in Bratislava to call on European governments to rethink the EU’s external trade agenda. Over the last week, hundreds of thousands of Europeans have demonstrated against CETA and TTIP from Berlin to Brussels, and Vienna to Stockholm.

06.06.2016 |

Toxic substances/Glyphosate: 3 strikes must mean Commission rules glyphosate approval out

A proposal for a temporary 'technical extension' of the EU approval of the herbicide glyphosate today failed to secure the support of a majority of EU governments (1). Commenting on the development,Green environment and food safety spokesperson Bart Staes stated:

"We applaud those EU governments who are sticking to their guns and are refusing to authorise this controversial toxic herbicide. There are clear concerns about the health risks with glyphosate, both as regards it being a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor. Moreover, glyphosate's devastating impact on biodiversity should have already led to its ban. Thankfully, the significant public mobilisation and political opposition to reapproving glyphosate has been taken seriously by key EU governments, who have forced the EU Commission to back down.

"Three strikes must mean the approval of glyphosate is finally ruled out.

01.06.2016 |

Commission seeks glyphosate approval by another name

Press release - June 1, 2016

Brussels – The European Commission is seeking political backing to allow unrestricted use of controversial weedkiller glyphosate by labelling the decision as temporary, warned Greenpeace.

The Commission has scheduled a vote on an “extension” of the glyphosate licence for Monday 6 June. The Commission’s plan ignores scientific evidence that glyphosate is a probable cause of cancer and fails to limit human exposure to the herbicide, said Greenpeace.

In April, the European Parliament called for a ban on all private uses of glyphosate, as well as spraying around public parks and playgrounds. It also opposed glyphosate spraying just ahead of harvesting, and called for the immediate disclosure of all scientific evidence used by the European Food Safety Authority to back up its claim that glyphosate is unlikely to cause harm.

03.03.2016 |

EU prepares to brush aside glyphosate herbicide safety concerns

On 8 March, a meeting of EU government experts in Brussels is expected to support the European Commission’s proposal to grant a new 15-year lease to glyphosate, the world’s most used weedkiller, despite World Health Organisation (WHO) cancer warnings.

EU governments will only restrict its use in pesticide products that also contain a chemical called polyethoxylated (POE)-tallowamine. These products are already banned in Germany, one of Europe’s largest pesticides markets. European decision-makers are also expected to endorse the Commission’s request that Monsanto and other pesticide companies produce scientific evidence, by 1 August 2016, proving that glyphosate does not interfere with the human hormone system. However, the EU licence for glyphosate is expected to be renewed ahead of this deadline.

22.02.2016 |

Commission found guilty of 'maladministration' by the EU Ombudsman

DG SANTE ordered to prove in a future report they changed their practices.

The practice of EU Commission health service SANTE to approve pesticides while important safety data are missing, the so-called "confirmatory data procedure" (CDP), is a case of maladministration according to the EU Ombudsman in a decision published today (pnt 8 of the decision). Under the previous pesticide Directive (91/414) she considers use of these practices by DG SANTE as unlawful (pnt 27) and under the new Regulation (1107/2009) that allows use of CDP only in exceptional cases she concludes the use was not restricted as it should (pnt 11). Possible consequences for human health would be particularly worrying, writes the Ombudsman (pnt 27). Several other shortcomings in the pesticide decisions were observed by the Ombudsman such as a lack of requirements to protect the environment (pnt 44), a lack of systematic verification of protective measures (pnt 50) and even cases of approval when no safe use was demonstrated by Food Authority EFSA (pnt 28). The solution proposed by the Ombudsman includes a change of practices by DG SANTE; the Ombudsman orders SANTE to prove in a report, to be published in two years time, they have actually implemented the changes (pnt 71).