Despite record opposition among EU member states, European ministers failed to agree on Tuesday to ban a genetically-modified maize to be grown on EU soil.
With 19 votes against, 4 abstentions and only 5 in favour, the disagreement will now leave in the hands of the European Commission whether to allow or not the insect-resistant maize for cultivation.
“The law is very clear on comitology that if there is no negative qualified majority against the proposal then the Commission not may but shall adopt the proposal which is why I have insisted with ministers today since there was no such negative qualified majority against to revive the cultivation proposal.” said EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg.
Known as Pioneer 1507 and jointly developed by two giant American chemical companies, opposers to the maize fear that GM crops pose a risk for human health and animals.
The vote has already caused huge opposition from consumers and NGOs.
But the EU executive insists that extensive research has proven the crops are safe.
“The Commission has to take scientific based decisions and if Commissioner Dimas when he had one positive EFSA opinion proposed this cultivation proposal, how can the Commission not continue with this procedure when it has 6 positive EFSA opinions. Of course, EFSA never said no, EFSA said yes provided you include this condition.” said EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg.
In the EU, only two GM crops are approved for commercial cultivation but they are widely grown in the US and parts of Asia.