Several European Union governments on Monday voted against the cultivation of three genetically modified maize strains developed by Syngenta, Monsanto and Pioneer.
Sixteen countries voted against authorizing two GM strains manufactured by Syngenta and Dow, while 14 voted against the Monsanto trait. Despite the number of countries voting against the GM crops, the bloc failed to reach a “qualified majority” of votes that would force the European Commission to dismiss its authorization in Europe, meaning the commission must make the final decision. (A qualified majority is achieved when at least 16 countries, representing at least 65 percent of the European population, vote in favor or against.) If approved, the varieties would be the first new GM crops authorized for cultivation in the EU since 1998.
If the commission approves the crops, the opposed countries still could opt out of using them domestically. “In practice, [the opt out] means that the three GM [crops], if and once authorized at EU level, will not…be cultivated on the territories benefiting from the opt out,” said a commission spokesperson in a reported statement.