EU Commission concedes UK could ban GM crops without breaching EU rules
02 October 2003
By Farmers Weekly staff
THE Royal Society on Thursday (2 October) attacked The Guardian newspaper for having published what the RS described as a "speculative article" about the results of the GM field scale trials.
The RS executive secretary Stephen Cox accused The Guardian< of putting commercial interests ahead of the public good by publishing the article.
On the same day, the report by the paper of field scale trials revealing GM crops to pose a threat to biodiversity made waves in Brussels.
The news allegedly forced a representative of the European Commission to concede that the UK could ban GM crops without breaching EU rules.
Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne is reported to have said that the threat to biodiversity would be treated as a matter of subsidiarity and therefore individual member states could make their own decisions.
The implication of Commissioner Byrne's statement is that the results of the farm trials could form the basis for a UK case to ban GM crops under existing EU rules.
Environment Committee member and Green MEP for South-East England Caroline Lucas said: "The Commission is clearly beginning to accept that GM is a social and political issue - not simply an economic one."
"In the face of mounting public opposition, and growing scientific evidence of the dangers posed by GM, the Commission is reluctantly accepting that it must allow member states to reject GM crops."
"Mr Byrne's comments will embolden anti-GM campaigners as they completely undermine the anticipated government argument that a GM-ban would contravene European legislation."