Originally published by Modern Farmer
April 3rd, 2017
By Dan Nosowitz
The EU is an interesting counterpoint to the US in terms of its relationship with GMO crops. Currently, only one GMO crop is grown in Europe, and opposition to adding to it is strong.
Last week, EU nations voted on two new potential GMO crops. The vote was indecisive by EU rules, but not necessarily in sentiment.
Each country gets a vote, but in order for legislation to pass, support must come from countries making up at least 65 percent of the total EU population, a measure that restricts groups of less-populated countries from controlling votes.
This particular vote addressed a proposal for two new GMO crops: Pioneer’s 1507 and Syngenta’s Bt11. Both are varieties of maize; the former is modified to produce their own pesticide and to resist any pesticide containing glufosinate. (Glufosinate pesticides are primarily produced by Bayer, and come with brand names like Liberty and Rely.) The latter resists pests like the Asian corn borer, and can be modified to resist pesticides like the infamous glyphosate, usually packaged as Roundup.
A majority of EU nations voted not to allow these two GMO crops to be introduced to Europe, but not enough to hit that 65% mark. The decision now falls to Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourgish politician who has been, essentially, president of the EU since 2014. There is a decent amount of anti-GMO pressure on Juncker (petitions and the like), and Juncker previously came under fire for, well, firing a scientific adviser due to her support for GMO crops.
Some GMO crops are currently permitted for import into the EU, but are rarely used for food intended for humans, thanks to extensive opposition.