European leaders took a big step toward keeping genetically modified crops out of the continent’s fields earlier this week when they supported a plan that would give individual nations the right to ban GMOs – even if they’re approved by the European Union. Reuters reports that Europe is a continent divided when it comes to GMO crops. Countries like France and Germany eschew them, while others like Britain are in favor.
A previous plan supported earlier this year sought to compromise on the issue by asking nations to negotiate with individual companies if they want to ban a GM crop after it’s approved for use across the EU. But the most recent plan voted through the EU parliament on Tuesday eliminates this part of the process and simply allows individual nations to ban a crop if they are opposed.
This latest development in the battle over GMOs comes as good news to those opposed to the crops. “Today’s vote would give European countries a legally solid right to ban GM cultivation in their territory, making it difficult for the biotech industry to challenge such bans in court,” Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director, Marco Contiero told Reuters.
And while those on the liberal and left side of the political spectrum were largely in favor of the decision, the Conservatives were unsurprisingly disappointed. “The parliament’s position on GM cultivation risks inflicting untold damage to robust science-based policymaking in Europe,” Conservative environmental spokeswoman, Julie Girling told Reuters. “We strongly oppose these proposals and voted against them today. We will continue to oppose them.”