GMO news related to Belgium

18.05.2017 |

Decisions on glyphosate should be based on independent data - MEP

Decisions on the renewal of the controversial weedkiller glypho-ate should be based on publicly available and independent data, Labour MEP and Socialists and Democrats spokeswoman Miriam Dalli insists.

Her comments followed news that the College of Commissioners was set to propose a 10-year renewal of glyphosate’s licence.

S&D MEPs yesterday reiterated their rejection of the European Commission’s intention to reauthorise glyphosate, in light of the lack of transparency in the classification process of the European agencies. The group is insisting that the classification process of glypho-sate has been largely based on unpublished scientific evidence provided by industry, or scientific reviews sponsored by the same industry “under the pretence” of independence.

17.05.2017 |

Calls to halt GM maize and cotton import

MEPs objected on Wednesday to EU Commission plans to authorise imports of products made from genetically modified maize and cotton which are herbicide-resistant.

- Concerns over harmful herbicide residues

- Overhaul of authorisation procedure by Commission needed

They highlight concerns raised by independent research and member states, and repeat Parliament’s call for an overhaul of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.

A resolution opposing the marketing of products containing maize DAS-40278-9 points to concerns raised by independent research about the risks of the 2,4D herbicide, to which the maize is resistant, for embryo development and endocrine disruption.

Member States criticised the authorisation procedure during the three-month consultation period before approval, referring to missing or insufficient data, contradictory statements and poor test design.

The non-binding resolution was adopted with 435 votes to 216 and 34 abstentions.

In a separate resolution, adopted with 425 votes to 230 and 27 abstentions, MEPs say that imports of products from genetically modified cotton GHB119 should not be authorised, as this would encourage the use of glufosinate ammonium-based herbicides (to which GHB119 is resistant) in the world, while glufosinate is classified as toxic for reproduction.

16.05.2017 |

GMOs again fail to secure Member State support

GMOs rejected in appeal committee

An appeal committee of national experts has today voted on the European Commission’s proposals to authorize two GMO licences, one cotton and one maize. Both are specifically designed to be used with herbicides that pose risks to human health. The appeal committee, like the standing committee before it, failed to reach a qualified majority in favour. MEPs will vote on objections to the two GMOs tomorrow (Wednesday).

Commenting after the vote, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:

"We welcome that the majority of Member States refused to give their backing to these GMOs. Both of these strands are specifically designed to be tolerant to herbicides that pose credible risks to human health. We will continue to make the case that we can feed ourselves and our farm animals without resorting to dangerous and unnecessary GM crops and an abundant cocktail of toxic chemical products.

"The decision again highlights the failure of the current approvals process. Time and time again, the European Parliament has expressed its opposition to GMOs, as have a majority of Member States in numerous committee decisions. We need a more democratic and accountable way of making these decisions, which would truly do justice to the impact they have on our health, the environment and agricultural practices. While the Commission's recent proposal to improve the decision making process falls far short of what is needed, we look forward to helping shape the Parliament's input.”

28.04.2017 |

EU: Ongoing process for authorising genetically modified plants

Dear President Juncker,

In the past 17 months, the European Commission has put forward twelve draft implementing decisions authorising the placing on the market of genetically modified seeds - for cultivation in the EU - or of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified plants. The European Parliament has, with very clear majorities, objected to all of these.

Besides serious doubts regarding deficits in the risk assessment, these objections stem from serious concerns about the decision-making process used for authorising genetically modified plants in the European Union.

24.04.2017 |

Europe is Waging War on Insecticides and GMO Crops

It might be time to finally fulfill that dream of moving to the Italian countryside as Europe is slowly but surely working on banning pesticides and GMOs — for good.

The Case Against Neonicotinoids

At the end of March, draft regulations from the European Commission banning the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, were made public by the Guardian. The British newspaper reported that if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states, a May vote could ban neonicotinoids from all fields across Europe within the year.

The presence of neonicotinoids in the EU was already on thin ice, given their detrimental effect on pollinator populations. The EU had already imposed a temporary ban on the use of three key neonicotinoids in 2013, but these new regulations would take things a step further.

30.03.2017 |

Bayer-Monsanto: eine Hochzeit mit Folgen
Bayer-Monsanto: eine Hochzeit mit Folgen

Opposition mounts to ‘marriage made in hell’ Bayer-Monsanto mega-merger

Friends of the Earth Europe staged a 'marriage made in hell' outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels today to symbolise the threat to food and farming posed by the planned merger of the agriculture and chemical companies Bayer and Monsanto.

Environmentalists, farmers, farmworkers, beekeepers, and religious and international development groups are all opposed to the deal and are calling on EU authorities to block it. A letter signed by 200 organisations was delivered to European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestage on Monday.

Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Europe's food and farming system is broken and if giant firms, like Monsanto and Bayer, are allowed to merge they will have an even tighter toxic grip on our food. The mergers are a marriage made in hell and should be blocked by regulators. We need to build a fairer and greener food system out of corporate control."

29.03.2017 |

Commission calms Trump by clearing major agro-chemical merger

The European Commission approved on Monday (27 March) the proposed $130 billion merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont. But the decision triggered a strong reaction from environmentalists, who believe that such mergers lead to “major monopolies”.

Dow Chemical and DuPont, two of the oldest US companies, announced their tie-up in December 2015 to create the world’s biggest chemicals and materials group.

“Due to significant commitments on products and the worldwide research and development organisation, the merger of Dow and Dupont can be approved,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The European Commission had been concerned that the merger of two of the biggest and oldest US chemical producers would have few incentives to produce new herbicides and pesticides in the future.

It said that the asset sales would ensure competition in the sector and benefit European farmers and consumers.

“We need effective competition in this sector so companies are pushed to develop products that are ever safer for people and better for the environment,” Vestager said in a statement.

28.03.2017 |

European Nations Vote Against GMO Crops

The majority of European Union governments voted against a proposal to authorize two new strains of genetically modified (GMO) maize today.

The two varieties of maize, DuPont Pioneer's 1507 and Syngenta's Bt11, kill insects by producing its own pesticide and is also resistant Bayer's glufosinate herbicide.

If approved, the varieties would be the first new GMO crops authorized for cultivation in the EU since 1998.

However, as Reuters noted, the votes against authorization did not decisively block their entry to the EU because the opposition did not represent a "qualified majority."

A qualified majority is achieved when at least 16 countries, representing at least 65 percent of the European population, vote in favor or against. (Scroll down for the vote breakdown)

The majority of EU governments also voted against renewing the license for another maize, Monsanto's MON810, the only GMO crop currently grown in the EU. The votes against its renewal was not considered decisive either.

MON810 is banned in 17 EU countries and is grown on less than 1 percent of agricultural land, mainly in Spain and Portugal, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.

27.03.2017 |

EU grants approval to merger of agribusiness corporations and consolidates a global monopoly

Interview with Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe

In light of the approval by the European Commission of the $130 billion mega-merger between agribusiness corporations Dow Chemical and Du Pont, and anticipating similar authorizations for other agribusiness giants, organizations warn that a mega-monopoly has been consolidated with a complete control over agrochemicals and commercial seeds.

The EU´s decision in favor of the merger of US groups Dow Chemical and DuPont was made known today, March 27. The merger is valued at 130 billion dollars, according to a press release issued by the EU.

Although the decision adopted in Brussels includes some “conditions” to ensure it “does not reduce price competition for existing pesticides or innovation”, according to the EU, organizations of peasants, family farmers, pastoralists, environmental activists and rural workers point out that it sets a precedent in favor of agricultural monopolies.

The decision for the abovementioned US corporations foretells the EU´s opinion with reference to two other mega-mergers planned in the same sector: the acquisition by Chinese group ChemChina of Syngenta (Switzerland), a decision expected before April 12, and the merger between Monsanto (US) and Bayer (Germany).

A threat for food and farms

27.03.2017 |

Resistance to agri-business is rising

Together with 200+ civil society organisations, ASEED has signed an open letter to the EU Commissioner Vestager (responsible for competition and for regulating the mergers) and other relevant Commissioners to voice its opposition to giant agri-business mergers.

According to a Reuters article, the EU antitrust regulators are likely to approve the Dow Chemical – DuPont and ChemChina’s – Syngenta mergers this Monday (March 27th) or Tuesday (March 28th). Friends of the Earth Europe has therefore decided to deliver the open letter to the Commissioners today. The text is pretty straightforward and explains why signers are worried about the possible mergers in six points.

The signers of the letter state: “these mergers risk major monopoly outcomes that would further increase corporate control of agriculture, restrict farmers’ choices, curb consumer choice, increase chemical use and harm the environment, damage Europe’s food sovereignty and harm countries in the Global South and the right to food.”