GM Freeze noted with dismay that of 73 total UK MEPs 33 voted against the motion (45.2%), effectively signalling their support for what they deem ‘this unwanted, risky GM crop’.
The resolution, from the Environment Committee, instructed the Council of Ministers to oppose commercialisation of the controversial GM maize Pioneer1507 on the grounds it will harm non-target insects like butterflies and because it is tolerant to the weedkiller glufosinate. The resolution was passed by 385 votes to 201 with 30 abstentions (62.5% in favour). Authorisation of the crop will be voted on by the Council, which is facing a deadline of 7 February to process the application due to a General Court ruling in September 2013. If the Council does not return a qualified majority either way the unelected Commission can decide on the application.
GM Freeze Director Helena Paul commented: “We know the UK public does not want GM crops, yet when it comes to the resolution more UK MEPs failed to vote at all than voted to keep a new GM crop out of EU fields. Voters need to take note.
“We also know that even Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson says of Pioneer1507, ‘This is not a crop of practical interest for UK farmers,’ yet he urges its acceptance. Apparently many UK MEPs also think it’s ok to vote for a new GM crop in someone else’s back yard. These votes were cast by a mix of Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative MEPs, showing that as we approach MEP elections in May there is plenty for UK voters to worry about if they want UK fields to remain GM-free into the future.
“The Parliament has made itself clear: there are several good reasons why Pioneer1507 is unacceptable for cultivation in the EU. The UK Government needs to vote ‘No’ on the application.”