Brussels, March 9 - The European Union could face a barrage
of new genetically modified (GM) crops following the failure today by
environment ministers to reach an agreement on new rights for countries to ban
GM cultivation, claims Friends of the Earth Europe.
With six applications  to grow new GM crops in the
pipeline, the pro-biotech Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli could now
proceed with their authorisations, despite their unpopularity with consumers
and concerns over their safety.
Mute Schimpf, food campaigner at Friends of the
Earth Europe said: "European
governments missed an excellent opportunity to close the door on genetically
modified crops. Their failure creates a real danger that GM crops could now be
authorised without any strong legal protection for those countries which want
to ban them. Politicians need to listen to public opinion which is
overwhelmingly opposed to GMOs." 
Friends of the Earth Europe supports stronger rights for
individual countries and regions to ban GM crops but was critical of the
proposal that was submitted to ministers as it proposed that countries ask
biotech companies for permission to impose bans.  Other options in the
proposal were vague and failed to give any strong legal backing for bans.
 Overview pending traits:
Maize Bt11 with glufosinate and insect resistance from Syngenta
Maize Mon810 with insect resistance from Monsanto
Maize 1507 from with glufosinate and insect resistance Dow/Pioneer
Maize Nk 603 glyphosate resistance from Monsanto
GA21 glyphosate resistance from Syngenta
Mon88017 glyphosate and insect resistance from Monsanto
 The proposal suggests that Member States need the
consent of the GM industry to exclude their country from authorisation requests
for GM crops.
 Popular opposition to GMOs in the EU has increased to
66% in last 5 years. Eurobarometer 354, 2010, http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/factsheet/docs/reporten.pdf