Mandelson wants to fast-track GM
Peter Mandelson is pressing for new GM foods and crops to be eaten and planted across Europe, even though governments cannot agree on whether to introduce them, top officials from the European Commission have told The Independent on Sunday.
They say that the controversial trade commissioner's department wants to speed up their use, despite widespread public opposition, and is insisting on their being imposed by the Commission on unwilling governments.
The Commission lifted a six-year moratorium on approving new modified foods and crops last year, and biotech firms have been queuing up to have their products officially cleared for use across the Continent.
Two types of GM maize have already been passed for human and livestock consumption over the past year, and more than 30 GM versions of maize, rice, potatoes, sugar beet, soya beans and other foods and crops are awaiting approval.
They are being nodded through by the Commission, over the heads of governments, because ministers cannot agree on whether to approve them. European countries are almost equally split into pro-GM and anti-GM camps, and every time a new product comes before ministers for clearance they are deadlocked. It then passes to the Commission itself for approval, in a procedure denounced by campaigners as "profoundly undemocratic".
Now the Commission's Health and Environment directorates are pressing for the system to be changed to give governments greater control.
Markos Kyprianou, the health and consumer protection commissioner, has also come out against it, and Hervé Martin, head of the biotechnology and pesticides unit in the EU Environment Directorate, says that it is "not sustainable to continue the system". He believes commissioners and governments should meet "before the summer" to work out a better one.
But, Mr Martin adds, the Trade Directorate wants to speed up the approval of more modified crops and products. He says it is insisting on sticking with the present arrangements, even if this means overriding the wishes of some governments.
Michael Meacher, the former UK environment minister, said yesterday: "Having a group of unelected bureaucrats deciding what food should be eaten is fundamentally undemocratic. It is intolerable that they can ride it through roughshod over the objections of member states.
"This is the very kind of thing that the peoples of France and the Netherlands were objecting to in their referendums last week."
Mr Mandelson's office failed to take up the opportunity to comment.
Green village to be bulldozed and mined for lignite in Germany's quest for non-nuclear fuel
Monarch butterfly: Single gene holds key to understanding 3,000 mile migration feat
47 per cent of London is green space: Is it time for our capital to become a national park?
In pictures: Shrinking Aral Sea
35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...