TTIP – current EU GMO rules to be ‘disregarded’ as EU Commission caves in to US pressure

27th April 2016 / Editors Picks, EU

A joint report conducted by Greenpeace, Corporate Europe Observatory and Gene Watch UK issued a briefing paper last week entitled “Commission fails to regulate new GMOs after intense US lobbying.”

In essence, the European Commission has effectively deserted its principles when it comes to GMO’s entering the food chain within the 28 nation bloc. Intense lobbying by United States representatives for the EU Commission to disregard current GMO rules which require stringent safety tests and labelling has proved successful. The result is that genetically modified organisms produced through a modified technique called ‘gene editing’ will be allowed. Gene editing is all but the same as anything we understand about GMO’s generally.

Freedom of Information documents show the scale of US lobbying has overwhelmed the EU Commission who now stand accused of bowing to US pressure and abdicating to the corporations and rejecting citizen concerns. The documents reveal that US representatives pushed for the EU to disregard its own GMO rules on the basis that the EU were simply putting up barriers and stifling trade under the proposed TTIP negotiations. The papers state that the EU should completely ignore health and environmental safeguards to pave the way for successful negotiations.

On the EC website the very first paragraph reads: “The European Union has established a legal framework to ensure that the development of modern biotechnology, and more specifically of GMOs, takes place in safe conditions.”

In the EU’s GMO directive/2001/18 the Directive clearly states: (clause 10)”For a comprehensive and transparent legislative framework, it is necessary to ensure that the public is consulted by either the Commission or the Member States during the preparation of measures and that they are informed of the measures taken during the implementation of this Directive” and (clause 19) “A case-by-case environmental risk assessment should always be carried out prior to a release. It should also take due account of potential cumulative long-term effects associated with the interaction with other GMOs and the environment.”

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In addition, the GMO Directive is quite clear on one thing (clause 23):  “No GMOs, as or in products, intended for deliberate release are to be considered for placing on the market without first having been subjected to satisfactory field testing at the research and development stage in ecosystems which could be affected by their use.”

Clearly none of these clauses within the directive are going to be adhered to under the new TTIP regime. The EU Commission requested a legal opinion to be carried out, not an environmental impact report. There’s a difference. Here, the EU Commission has been able to establish legally that GMO’s created through certain new techniques such as gene editing somehow makes them safe and therefore not subject to a high bar of scrutiny that previously existed. The ‘opinion’ requ

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