Advocate General Bobek turns a blind eye to new GMOs
Brussels, 18 January 2018 – ECVC peasants from 16 countries together with allies organizations like – IFOAM, FIAN, CEO, TNI, FOEE – took to the streets in Brussels to protest the possible non-regulation by the EU of new GMOs. According to the opinion put forth today by the Advocate General Bobek, a great number of organisms obtained by mutagenesis would, in principle, be exempt from the obligations in the Genetically Modified Organisms Directive, seeing no need to update legislation, unopposed, thus, to placing the se new GMOs on the market as ‘conventional’ products.
“We transmit to all EU institutions involved in this process, that we, as European farmers, are fed up. Our fields are not the playground of the biotech industry and our seeds must not be contaminated by the new GMOs. If the EU were to authorize these GMOs in the future, it would be committing a grave infringement to international commitments, such as the Cartagena Protocol. The Advocate General’s opinion fails to respond to the initial question laid before him. This must be rectified by the European Court of Justice and the EU Commission.” -says Ramona Dumincioiu, peasant representative from Romania.
The Pan-European peasant demonstration around EU headquarters called on the EU Commission to regulate all GMOs and unfair patents. To this end, ECVC delegates attempted to hand a folder of documents in regards to new GMOs and peasants’ rights to Commission offices, but were refused.*
Yesterday’s action is just one facet of a larger battle to preserve Europe’s and the world’s peasant communities**, along with their agroecological practices and to advance in the path for People’s food sovereignty. This, while the biotech industry leads an intense lobby campaign in the EU to push their new GMOs into the market without prior assessment and labeling.
Serving the corporate sector, the EU will not only be uncapable of responding to the challenges faced by Europe and the world (environmental, social and economic) but it will continue to undermine the very project of European unity.
* The documents in question attempted to be handed to the Commission DG offices were: An open letter highlighting the dangers new GMOs and patents pose to EU’s peasant communities and consumers; ECVC’s position on seeds; and La Via Campesina’s report on major peasant rights violations and the importance of a Peasants’ Rights Declaration. These were refused by the 3 main DGs responsible in the GMO issue : DG HEALTH, DG GROW and DG AGRI.
** The regulation of these new GMOs is directly linked to peasants’ rights, considering their right to save, use, exchange, sell and protect the seeds produced on their farm as an inalienable element of their existence and livelihood. In this sense ECVC also called on European authorities to support the process being currently carried out in the UN for a Peasants’ Rights Declaration. Reason for which demonstrators stopped in front of the European External Action Service. Until now, except for Portugal, EU member states overseeing this Declaration have been obstructing its development.