Fischer Boel slams Irish stance on GM
Agriculture Commissioner blasts 'ludicrous' position of EU states
The anti-GM stance taken by Ireland and other EU states has been lambasted by the EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.
The commissioner warned that delays in approving new GM crop varieties were restricting access to vital protein sources, such as soya, and would cost farmers millions of euro in higher feed charges this winter.
Ms Fischer Boel called for decisions on GM crops to be based on scientific evaluation rather than political considerations. She described as "ludicrous" a situation where member states openly frustrated the authorisation process for new GM crops by abstaining in key votes, but later seek export refunds for animal products because of increased feed costs.
Ireland has abstained in a number of votes on new GM crops since the present Government took office in 2007.
While Ireland was not singled out for criticism by the commissioner, a source close to Ms Fischer Boel accused countries that abstained of "chickening out" of the debate.
Ms Fischer Boel insisted that the EU approach in assessing the risks posed by GM crops was based on science and she challenged detractors of the existing approval process to study it.
"If any GMO is shown to have adverse affects on human health, animal health or the environment, we will not authorise it. Look at the rules; it's there in black and white," she said.
The commissioner claimed that authorisations for new GM crops were usually delayed because of political considerations rather than genuine scientific reservations.