Brussels, 21 January 2009 – The European Commission has today issued proposals for two new varieties of genetically modified (GM) maize to be grown in Europe despite outstanding safety concerns.
In a proposal sent to EU member states, the Commission also says it wants to force Greece, Hungary and France to drop their national bans on a similar GM maize .
National governments will be asked to vote on the proposals in February. A vote on whether the ban which is currently in force in Hungary be allowed to stand will be taken at the March meeting of European Environment Ministers.
Helen Holder, GMO coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “The Commission is making no sense. Barely a month ago European Environment Ministers called for serious improvements to GMO laws. The Commission itself has demanded a two year review of how the safety and environmental impacts of GM crops are assessed. European countries should reject these proposals and ensure that the risks and impacts of these GM crops are fully understood before they are allowed onto our farms and into our food and the environment.”
In December EU countries called for wide ranging improvements to the EU’s GMO laws,  including:
- that pesticide-producing GM crops (Bt crops) should be assessed under EU laws for chemical pesticides and not just under laws for GMOs;
- that the socio-economic impacts of GM crops be assessed over the next 18 months – something which has so far not been done.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 The Commission it proposing to:
– authorise the cultivation of two pesticide producing (Bt) maize crops; Bt11 (produced by Syngenta) and 1507 (produced by Pioneer)
– to remove national bans on Monsanto’s MON810 pesticide-producing (Bt) maize