EU to allow member states to decide own GM policy

The European Union will today announce that member states can choose if they want to allow the growing of GM crops, as well as letting others ban GM.

The move is intended to end 12 years of deadlock over GM crops in which production within the EU has been frozen.

Pro-GM countries such as Spain, the Czech Republic and Holland will be able to increase production, while Italy, Hungary and Austria will be able to maintain restrictions.

The proposals are intended to deliver on an announcement by European Commission PresidentJosManuelBarroso in September last year prior to his reappointment.

Barroso stated: "In an area like GMOs, for example, it should be possible to combine a community authorisation system, based on science, with freedom for member states to decide whether or not they wish to cultivate GM crops on their territory."

However French GreenMEP JosBov said the proposals "would allow companies to reduce risk assessment to just a few studies and to speed up marketauthorisationfor theEUterritory overall".

A spokesperson for Friends of the Earth commented: The Commission is prentending to offer members states a way out of the current impasse, but actually they're just trying speed up approvals with weaker risk assessments."

>> Two-thirds of UK public want their food to be GM-free

>> GM database could hamper research, says government

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