MEPs approve national ban on GM crops cultivation

MEPs have rubber-stamped controversial rules permitting EU member states to decide themselves whether to allow the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops, which are currently grown in only five EU countries.

Praised by some experts as liberating, but attacked by others as undermining the single market, the proposal has managed to break a 15-year deadlock in growing GM crops. Widely grown in the Americas and Asia, GM crops in Europe have divided opinion.

There was no other credible alternative to the agreement, said Belgian MEP Frédérique Ries, responsible for the dossier, speaking ahead of the vote. “We have a legal jungle and a recalcitrant council,” she added. Adopted by a very large majority (480 votes in favour), the agreement will give more freedom, more flexibility to Member States as well as greater legal certainty, she insisted.