GMO-free news from France

07.11.2017

EU: 4.3% drop in GM crop cultivation

In 2017, not one hectare was sown with genetically modified maize in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. And in Portugal and in Spain, the surfaces [planting area] of transgenic crops decreased. All in all, throughout the European territory, this surface declined from 136,338 to 13,571 hectares, a decrease of 4%.

Transgenic crops do not exactly have the wind in their sails in the European Union. In 2016, only four countries of the European Union continued to cultivate MON810 maize (the only one allowed for cultivation in the European Union): Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Two of those countries have abandoned these crops in 2017 : the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The crop surfaces strongly decrease in Portugal, and a little in Spain. The drop in the transgenic maize area (-4.3%) is higher than the drop in the total maize cultivation area (including conventional, GM, and organic) (-1.3%) .

26.10.2017

French Health Regulator Withdraws Licence for Bayer Weedkiller

PARIS — French health and environment regulator ANSES said on Thursday it had withdrawn the licence for Bayer's Basta F1 weedkiller made with glufosinate-ammonium, citing uncertainty over its effect on health following a review.

The product, which is used to spray vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetables, was the only weedkiller containing glufosinate authorised in France, ANSES said in a statement.

25.09.2017

France reaffirms opposition to glyphosate licence renewal

France reaffirmed on Monday (25 September) its opposition to plans by the European Commission to extend its approval for the weed killer product glyphosate, the prime minister’s office said.

“The European Commission has proposed renewing its approval for glyphosate for another ten years. This is far too long, given the concerns that remain over this product, and France will vote against the proposal, as clearly laid out previously in July,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a statement.

Concerns over glyphosate’s risk to human health have prompted investigations by US congressional committees and delayed a relicensing decision in the EU.

The EU executive has proposed extending approval for glyphosate by ten years after the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) said in a study in March it should not be classified as a cancer-causing substance.

A qualified majority is required in the Council in order for the reauthorisation to pass, so France’s veto could prove crucial.

30.08.2017

France to vote against license renewal for weedkiller glyphosate

PARIS (Reuters) - France will vote against renewing the European license for weedkiller glyphosate, an official at the environment ministry said, adding to uncertainty over the future of widely-used products such as Monsanto’s Roundup in the European Union.

Concerns over glyphosate’s risk to human health have prompted investigations by U.S. congressional committees and delayed a relicensing decision in the EU.

“France will vote against the reauthorization of glyphosate due to the doubts that remain about its dangerousness,” a ministry official said.

The European Commission, the EU executive, has proposed extending approval for glyphosate by 10 years after the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) said in a study in March it should not be classified as a cancer-causing substance.

A vote on whether to renew the license is due on Oct. 4, the French official said. A qualified majority of member states is needed for the renewal to go ahead.

In previous votes, France and Germany have abstained, leading the Commission to extend the license by 18 months at the end of June 2016 to give the ECHA time to study the chemical further.

22.08.2017

EU Commission recognises that the Bayer/Monsanto merger would be highly problematic

In September 2016, German drugs and chemicals group Bayer and US company Monsanto, owner of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and of the only GM plant currently authorised for cultivation in the EU (Mon 810 Maize), announced their intention to merge. The European Commission’s DG competition, whose validation is necessary to seal the deal, just released their preliminary review on the issue. This review identifies an impressive list of risks and problems associated with the potential merger, already opposed by hundreds of thousands of citizens.

It would, in their own words, “create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company. It would combine two competitors with leading portfolios in non-selective herbicides, seeds and traits, and digital agriculture... Moreover, the transaction would take place in industries that are already globally concentrated, as illustrated by the recent mergers of Dow and Dupont and Syngenta and ChemChina”. Indeed, the last two “mega mergers” in the farming input sector have already aggravated significantly a very bad situation for the farmers.

The seed market in the EU is ridiculously concentrated. It is a common misconception that seeds are mainly produced by a multitude of thousands of SMEs in the EU, as these are in most cases owned totally or partially by the same few very big stakeholders. In 2014, only four companies were already controlling close to 95% of the vegetable seed market, two of these companies being Bayer and Monsanto. The Commission flags this down as a major problem, citing also the case of oilseed rape seeds.

15.06.2017

One million sign petition for EU weedkiller ban

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - More than one million people have signed a petition demanding the EU ban the Monsanto weedkiller glyphosate over fears it causes cancer, campaigners said Thursday.

The petition comes as the European Union is deciding whether to renew the licence of the controversial herbicide produced by the US agro-chemicals giant.

09.05.2017

International Meetings of the Resistance against GMOs : final declaration

Rencontres Internationales des Résistances aux OGM

Lorient, Brittany, 30th April 2017

Following the international meetings of convergence of Resistance to GMOs in Ouagadougou, April 2016, [organised by the Collectif citoyen pour l’Agroécologie CCAE], following the Peoples Assembly & International Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague, October 2016, following the First Seed Olympiad, Paranesti, Greece, April 2017, we, of the Resistance in 28 countries in 5 continents, meeting in Lorient, Brittany, 28-30 April 2017, in order to build convergence, on the occasion of this the second International Convergence of the Resistance againt GMOs, do declare :

Our seed, our knowledge and our know-how are a proud cultural heritage, not merchandise, and we alone decide with whom they are to be shared. We refuse to see them stolen by industry for genetic manipulation and privatisation under patent property rights, proceeding thus to wipe out, in country after country, all the local plant varieties and local livestock breeds. Industrial interests, moreover, cannot fool all the people all the time when they try to pass off their latest (and dissimulated) innovations as traditional varieties.

16.02.2017

French and German socialists divided by CETA vote

The European Parliament’s vote on ratifying CETA, the EU-Canada trade agreement, revealed the deep divisions among socialists across the EU, in particular in the “engine of Europe” – France and Germany.

MEPs backed CETA yesterday (15 February) with 408 MEPs in favour and 254 against; 33 abstained. CETA will now face the hurdle of being ratified by the 28 member states. The ratification process varies from country to country, with some requesting approval in national parliaments.

(.....)

In leader of the Party of European Socialists Sergei Stanishev’s Bulgaria, a scandal erupted after the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party Kornelia Ninova said her force will brand all Bulgarian MEPs who supported CETA as traitors.

Ninova says CETA will put at disadvantage the Bulgarian producers and flow the country with products containing GMOs.

05.02.2017

Toxic chemicals: Kids in danger

Is our dependence on pesticides harming the health of our children? Every day, children are exposed to up to 130 chemical pollutants from pesticides. All around the world, scientists and doctors are raising the alarm, linking increases in child cancers, birth defects and even the explosion of autism with exposure to chemicals in pesticides. Six corporations control the pesticide market: Syngenta, Bayer, Monsanto, Dow, BASF and DuPont. They rule over a market of 50 billion dollars. For a year, director Martin Boudot followed the tracks of their molecules to show how some of the most dangerous ones get into our everyday life. In France, children breathe a pesticide classified as "probable carcinogenic." Distributed all over the world, it’s one of Bayer’s best-sellers. Martin Boudot and his team of reporters took some samples of dozens of hairs of children and went to the annual shareholders meeting of Bayer in Germany to confront the corporations with its own principles.

29.12.2016

France bans pesticides in public green spaces

PARIS (AP) — French children will soon be able to frolic in the grass without risk of intoxication.

Pesticides will be banned in all public green spaces from Sunday while non-professional gardeners will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter.