The procedure for authorising GMOs, which is based on the opinion given by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and a decision given by the Commission, continues to attract much criticism from Member States and NGOs.
Some Member States argue that the decisions should not be based solely on the opinions from EFSA, and that national bodies should also be involved in the process. NGOs, meanwhile, claim that the authorisation procedures are undemocratic and that EFSA cannot be regarded as fully independent, as shown by the case of Diana Banati, the former chair of EFSA’s management board who has taken up a position at the International Life Sciences Institute.
In 2008, the Member States asked the Commission to review the assessment procedures and how EFSA conducted its work. The current debate concerning the safeguard clause invoked by France in order to ban the cultivation of MON 180 transgenic maize, and the opposition shown by other Member States to positive recommendations on cultivating certain GMO crops issued by the Commission, also show that the authorisation procedures need to be reformed.
Can the Commission provide information on the reform programme planned to tackle the various concerns that have been voiced regarding the authorisation of GMOs?
Does the Commission envisage Parliament becoming involved in the authorisation procedures, a move that would resolve the problem of democratic legitimacy raised by the comitology system and GMO authorisation procedures?