Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

GMOs in Europe

Winning the battle in the European Union and beyond

Organiser: Geert Ritsema, Greenpeace International and Helen Holder, Friends of the Earth Europe

What almost nobody had thought possible a few years ago, happened in the late spring of 2007. In spite of continuous pressure by the GMO industry and their allies in the White House and the WTO, leading conservative politicians in Europe announced that they were banning GMOs. Not only did the French president Sarkozy suspend the cultivation of Monsanto’s GM maize MON 810 but also the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Stavros Dimas, stood up to big agribusiness and blocked the authorization of two GMO maizes. 

New scientific evidence showing environmental damage resulting from GM cultivation and the precautionairy principle were among the major arguments behind these measures.

The purpose of the workshop is to assess how the key legal and scientific arguments in favor of GMO bans can be further strengthen and used to ensure that Europe will eventually become a GMO free continent. More specifically we will look at the next steps in the EU procedure to reassess the authorization of MON 810. This procedure could eventually lead to the final withdrawal of the authorization of this GM maize –the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in Europe- in all EU member states.

Presentations will focus on:
• Provisions in EU and national law that justify the banning of GMOs
• New Scientific evidence against GMO growing, in particular concerning GM maize
• The EU political process that has lead to the banning of GMOs
• Next steps that can lead to a total ban on commercial GM cultivation in Europe

Speakers: campaigners and experts from different European countries that have been closely involved in the architecturing of GMO bans.

Documents to be made available: NGO-position papers, scientific studies, legal opinions, relevant government decisions, relevant pieces of EU and national law.

Minutes of the Workshop

Background Papers and further reading:

Draft EU Commission decision on 1507 cultivation

Draft EU Commission Decision on bt 11 cultivation

Open letter of NGOs to EU Commission on approvals for cultivation

Greenpeace & FoE letter to EU commissioners April 2008

Greenpeace & FoE letter against Monsantos GM maize MON810

Overview of GM cultivation bans in the EU

Scientific arguments against Monsanto's GM maize

Watch the videos

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Clare Oxborrow, Friends of the Earth, Great Britain
GMOs in Europe: Context and industry strategy:
Part 1       Part 2

Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU Unit

Part 1      Part 2: EU political work Presentation

Guy Kastler, Peasants' Seeds Network, France

Part 1       Part 2

Gabriel Paun, Greenpeace Romania

Victoria Kopeykina, Eremurus Club/CIS Biosafty Alliance, Russian Federation

Part 1      Part 2

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