A Blow to Biotech as Much of Europe Says No to GMO
October 2, 2015
Posted by on
Half of the European Union’s 28 countries and three of its regions have opted out of a new GM crop scheme, in a blow to biotech industry hopes. Under new EU rules agreed in March, 14 countries have now told Brussels they will send territorial exclusion requests to the big agricultural multinationals including Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer.
Applications from Latvia and Greece have already been accepted by the firms and if that pattern is extended, around two-thirds of of the EU’s population – and of its arable land – will be GM-free. Industry sources warned that Europe could soon become a “graveyard” for biotech products but environmentalists hailed the news.
On Wednesday, Germany became the largest EU country to snub GM crops, when the agricultural minister, Christian Schmidt , told Brussels that his country had no appetite for the biotech produce.
Other countries that have exercised an opt out or said they plan to include Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Wallonia region of Belgium will also be opting out on a regional basis. Wales has more recently opted out, making England the only country in the British Isles to allow GM crop cultivation.