An EU nation's right to ban GMOs moves to Council

November 30, 2004, as reported by Bans on genetically modified materials set up by individual European countries will remain in place, for now anyway.

The European Commission Regulatory Committee was considering lifting the bans currently in place in five EU member states but failed to garner enough votes to overturn the measures. The decision to end national bans will now pass onto the Council of Ministers, according to EC reports.

The draft decisions concern the GM maize varieties T25 and MON810 banned in Austria, GM maize Bt176 banned in Austria, Germany and Luxembourg, the oilseed rape varieties MS1xRF1 banned in France and Topas 19/2 banned in France and Greece.

The Commission said the Regulatory Committee, which represents the member states, did not reach the qualified majority necessary to support the Commission’s proposal to ask the five member states to lift their national bans.

The Commission said it will now formally transmit the proposals to the Council of Ministers for a decision. The Council can either adopt or reject the proposals with a qualified majority. If no decision is taken after three months, the file returns to the Commission which can then adopt it. If the proposal is approved, the member states in question would have to repeal their national bans at the latest 20 days after they are formally notified of respective decisions.