In a joint statement Thursday by the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal, and the Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, it was announced that France has decided to ask the European Commission for a strong opt-out from growing genetically modified (GM) crops.
France has decided to ask the European Commission to exclude its national territory from the release of 9 GM maize varieties already authorized (1 GM Maize variety – MON9810) or awaiting authorization by the EU.
The statement concluded; “This decision is in line with the Act of June 2, 2014 banning the cultivation of GM maize in the country supported by Stéphane Le Foll. It is part of the very important progress made by the new European framework on the implementation of GMO cultivation in which France played a leading role . This directive makes it possible for Member States to request the exclusion of their territorial scope of existing authorizations or of those under consideration.”
France has now officially joined Greece and Latvia in asking for an opt-out from growing GM crops. Germany and Scotland have also made it clear that they will follow the same path.
German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt informed German states in August of his intention to use a new EU law, passed in March, to ban the use of GM crops. This followed the Scottish Government’s announcement earlier in the same month that they will take similar action to protect Scotland’s clean, green status.
The German announcement also came as Professor Carlo Leifert, Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University, said that he strongly believes the Scottish Government ban on GM crops is right and that “there are likely to be significant commercial benefits from Scotland being clearly recognized as a GM-free region”.