From: Craig Sams
A bit of background on EU politics and GM.
In 1991, when the EU regulation 2092/91 was passed by the EU Parliament it contained an absolute prohibition of genetically engineered seeds or other material. It didn't cover feed as the livestock rules were part of subsequent legislation.
After the Parliament passed the regulation, which was the product of consultation via the 'competent authorities' of each member state with the representatives of the organic movement in that member state, it went to the Commission for final approval.
The Commissioners amended the ban on genetically engineered seeds to say that it was not an absolute prohibition and could be amended at a later date under the provisions of Article 14, which sets out the process that enables the regulation to be updated.
The Parliament were furious with this ex post facto alteration of legislation that they had already passed and a motion of censure of the Commission was passed.
The Commission then reminded the Parliament of the constitutional facts of life within the EU, i.e that the Parliament is a talking shop and the real power rests with the Commissioners. If Parliament wanted to overrule the Commission, they could only do so by dismissing the entire Commission, a nuclear option they were reluctant to exercise.
In 1999 a report of independent experts stated that the Commission, particularly Edith Cresson's youth training department, had lost control of their finances and their staff activities and that fraud was rampant. At this stage the Parliament, remembering the confrontation of 1991, gathered up their nerve and sacked the entire Commission, led by Jacques Santer at the time.
The GM issue is the pressure point where the power of lobbyists over the Commission is outweighed by the power of the democratically elected MEPs - with even more MEPs from countries where Monsanto's lobbying power is pretty weak, I'd hope that the Parliament could be more rigourous in stopping the Commission running away with things again, but the lack of any intermediate step between sacking the lot of them and just standing up to them is a real constitutional problem. Set alongside the refusal of the EU's auditors to approve their accounts for the past decade, one wonders if perhaps a rotten and powerless government is not such a bad thing (the 'best government is the least government' principle.)
GM WATCH daily
multiple items all via the excellent GM Free Ireland website:
GM issue could topple EU constitution
Press release from Kathy Sinnott MEP
[Member of the European Parliament]
European Parliament delegate to the World Trade Organisation European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Europe Day, Dail Eireann, 10 May 2006
If the European Commission persists in its misguided policy to force GM seeds and crops on us, the people of Ireland will vote against adopting the European Constitution and against any further EU integration.