MEPs oppose import authorisation of herbicide-resistant GMOs

The European Parliament has voted against plans to authorise the import of four varieties of genetically-modified crops.

Passed with a significant majority, the non-binding resolutions call on the European Commission to withdraw draft decisions that authorise the import of four varieties of cotton, soy and maize.

These GMOs have been made tolerant to glyphosate and glufosinate ammonium, both herbicides, meaning they can be exposed to repeated doses without suffering damage. Citing a number of scientific studies, MEPs warned that as a result they could lead to higher quantity of pesticide residues in the harvest.

The Parliament also criticised the Commission for the continuing to authorise imported genetically-modified products despite objections from member states and MEPs. 

In October MEPs had passed similar non-binding motions opposing three other herbicide-resistant GMOs.

In a statement following the vote, French MEP Éric Andrieu, a member of the agriculture committee and former chair of the PEST Committee, said: “We are dealing with a genetically-modified Commission: it ignores the votes of MEPs and defies democracy!”

Calling for the precautionary principle to prevail, he added that the Commission “has taken the bad habit to exceed its powers even though there is no majority, neither among experts, nor in the member states, to authorize these GMOs”.

Pascal Canfin, a Renew Europe MEP who chairs the Parliament's Environment Committee, called on the executive to review its authorisation practices as part of the upcoming European Green Deal. Canfin has previously described the Commission’s repeated authorisations of GM crops against the wishes of EU lawmakers an “aberration”.

Follow up: European Parliament press release.

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