Barroso Commission recognises contribution of biotech crops to European competitiveness


This morning's EU Commission orientation debate on GMOs confirms that this Commission will build on the previous Commission's policy by supporting Europe's regulatory and approval process for GM products. "More than a year since the last orientation debate, it is encouraging to see that the Commission recognises that the EU's legal framework for approving safe GM products must function properly. Only with the proper functioning of the system can Europe hope to foster innovation and competitiveness in this vital area," says Simon Barber, Director of the Plant Biotechnology Unit at EuropaBio - the European association for bioindustries.

"It is frustrating that some Member States continue to ignore overwhelming science as to the safety of GMOs and fail to approve these safe and innovative products in Europe. We support the Commission in its goals to ensure the proper functioning of the system and urge all Member States to fulfil their responsibilities," says Simon Barber.

The biotech industry would also like to see the Commission ensuring that Member States that have invoked bans based on "safeguard clauses" and that have failed to provide the required scientific justification to support these bans, withdraw these illegal bans immediately. "The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has thrown out the justifications for these bans, and we support the Commission in their role as 'Guardian of the Treaty' in seeking to apply EU law that was put in place by those Member States that are today, flouting their own rules," says Simon Barber.

The biotech industry welcomes the Commission's sense of urgency for establishing practical thresholds for the adventitious presence of GM material in non-GM seed and calls upon the EU Commission to bring forward workable legislation in-line with the economic and practical realities of seed production so as to provide the EU seed industry with legal certainty.

EuropaBio further calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure coherence of policy between promoting research and innovation on the one hand and approving the products that are developed out of that research on the other.

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