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Ċiklu relatat mad-dokument : O-0031/2008

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O-0031/2008 (B6-0151/2008)

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PV 23/04/2008 - 15
CRE 23/04/2008 - 15

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L-Erbgħa, 23 ta' April 2008 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

15. Sistema ta' tolleranza żero għall-GMOs mhux awtorizzati u l-effetti ekonomiċi ta' dan (dibattitu)
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  La Présidente. – L'ordre du jour appelle le débat sur la question orale à la Commission sur le régime de tolérance zéro pour les OGM non autorisés et les incidences économiques de celui-ci, de Neil Parish, au nom de la commission du commerce international (O-0031/2008 - B6-0151/2008).

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson, deputising for the author. − Madam President, I should first of all thank my colleague Mr Parish, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, very much indeed for giving me the opportunity of coming here at this late hour to ask this oral question. He, unfortunately, has for many months had a longstanding arrangement to go to Denmark with Commissioner Fischer Boel and had to leave for Copenhagen this afternoon. So he sends his apologies for his absence and also sends his greatest respects to Ms Vassiliou and welcomes her to the Commission.

This is a reality check. We have a very competitive and successful poultry and pig industry in the EU. They are completely unsupported. They do not receive a single farm payment; they do not receive any subsidy at all and they have to stand alone in the marketplace.

With poultry and pigs the biggest cost of production is the feed. Pigs and chickens do not graze the fields and therefore everything they eat is cereal-based. If you have an unsupported industry you must make sure that they have access to competitive feed from around the world.

In Europe we take over two years on average to license a perfectly safe GM product. Herculex, one of the few approved GM seeds, took 33 months to achieve EU approval. In the US the average approval time is half that: 15 months.

There is no excuse for this. With food prices and costs for the poultry and pig industry both rising, we cannot afford this time delay in licensing feed. We have got to speed things up.

In the US many of these GM products are by-products from the bioethanol industry and they are significantly cheaper than feeds that can be accessed here in the EU by our poultry and pig producers. So all we are doing is denying ourselves access to cheaper world market feeds, making it virtually impossible for our producers to compete and therefore we are in grave danger of haemorrhaging jobs and exporting our industry outside the EU.

Those purists who say that we must not have poultry or pigmeat produced with GM feed will not have won any kind of victory if we deny ourselves these feeds. The end result will be that we will have lost our industry to our non-EU competitors while we continue to import poultry and pigmeat from animals that have been fed on precisely the same GM feed that we have denied our producers access to. This is the politics of the madhouse.

We also need clear labelling and products so that consumers can make an informed choice. They must know if the meat they eat has been fed on GMs. With rising food prices, much GM-fed meat is cheaper and this gives consumers the choice and access to low-cost meat if that is what they desire.

The other major issue so far as feed is concerned is zero tolerance on non-GM feed coming into the EU. Again, the great hair-shirted brigade can beat their chests and say that we are making sure that there are no traces of GM products in any non-GM feed that is entering the EU. But what is the effect of zero tolerance when a shipload of non-GM soya is being loaded in Brazil to be brought to the EU? There is a chance that a very tiny residue of GM soya could be picked up through the loading equipment at the port in Brazil. When that ship docks in the EU, if even a small trace of GM soya is found, even if that soya has been licensed in the EU, the whole cargo can be turned away.

Therefore the result of the zero-tolerance regime is to reduce dramatically the amount of non-GM feed coming into the EU. So, even those poultry and pig producers who want to use non-GM feed find it incredibly difficult to access the quantities that they need, when they need them. Once again, this makes it much more difficult for them to compete fairly in open world markets.

If we really want to export our poultry and pig industry outside the EU and feed our citizens on Brazilian chicken and pork and even chicken from Thailand, all of which has been fed on GM, then the present policies of zero tolerance on non-GM feed and the appallingly slow licensing of GM feed within the EU are exactly the way to go about it.

Commissioner, we are delighted that you were so resoundingly endorsed as a Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection DG. We wish you well but we hope that you will be the first to resist the tabloid Frankenstein food mythology and put in place some policies that will allow our farmers to compete internationally on a level playing field.

 
  
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  Androula Vassiliou, Member of the Commission. − Madam President, the Commission recognises the risk that feed imports may become more difficult and more expensive, due to asynchronous approvals of GMOs in exporting countries and in the EU. I am aware of the Agriculture and Rural Development DG study on the issue of feed shortage. I must stress that the effects of a zero tolerance policy for unauthorised GMOs on feed imports only become an issue in the event of so-called asynchronous GMO approvals. One of the key factors is the difference in the duration of the GMO approval procedure in third countries and in the EU, in combination with the lack of appropriate segregation mechanisms in exporting countries and the marketing strategies of the seed industry in these countries. The increased use of GMOs by your main trading partners in commodities also has an important influence.

Against this background, the Commission is focusing its efforts on addressing these key factors. Discussions with the European Food Safety Authority have been initiated with the aim of making efficiency gains in the duration of the authorisation procedure, without compromising on the quality of the EFSA scientific assessment. I would like to remind you of the importance in this respect of the cooperation of Member States in the Standing Committee and in the Council.

Last but not least, I would like to note that the Commission recently adopted the authorisation of GA 21 maize, which will facilitate imports with the advantageous presence of this GM event from Argentina. The Commission is also currently in the process of sending to the Council a proposal for the authorisation of a GM soya bean, after the Standing Committee failed to reach a qualified majority. This soya bean authorisation will also enable a number of feed imports and thus contribute to the temporary improvement of the feed shortage problem that the Honourable Member raises.

The EU legislative framework on GM food and feed aims primarily at ensuring the safety of the products placed on the market. This is why GM food and feed products are subject to pre-market approval. The zero tolerance approach for unauthorised GMOs currently applied by the EU has been laid down in EU legislation, having been approved by the European Parliament and the Council as the best way to protect human and animal health and the environment. It is similar to the approach followed by the vast majority of third countries, including major GMO producers.

At international level, the Commission, in close collaboration with the Member States, continues to support the development of Codex guidelines on the issue. The Commission, however, recognises the possibility of incidents of the type indicated among the reasons behind your question and recognises that such occurrences are becoming easier to detect because of constant improvements in measurement techniques. The Commission will examine whether it is appropriate and feasible to come up with an individual solution for this specific problem, in full respect of existing legislation.

In the case of the WTO complaint brought against the European Community in 2003, the corresponding panel report, concluded in 2006, did not call into question the EU legislation, but rather the way it has been implemented in the past. The Commission has managed to contain this dispute until now in the context of a regular dialogue on biotech issues with the complainants. We clearly showed the complainants that there is currently no moratorium or undue delay in the EC approval system of biotech products.

Sixteen products have been approved since the establishment of the WTO Panel, with only seven in 2007. We cannot rule out that complainants, notably the United States, will take into consideration the trade implications of the issue of advantageous presence in their decision on whether to proceed with further dispute settlement. However, the European Community would be in a good position to defend its case, and the present dialogue makes this eventuality unlikely.

 
  
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  Esther De Lange, namens de PPE-DE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, commissaris, gisteren hebben wij in dit Huis gesproken over de stijgende voedselprijzen en de gevolgen daarvan in de Europese Unie en voor ontwikkelingslanden. Nu staan we hier vanavond weer en we spreken over genetisch gemodificeerd diervoeder. Het was wellicht een idee geweest om die beide debatten met elkaar te combineren. Dit nogal technische thema over diervoeders kadert immers uiteraard in de bredere discussie over voedselzekerheid en stijgende voedselprijzen. Hoe verantwoord is het namelijk nog om hele scheepsladingen diervoeders te vernietigen of te weigeren wegens onopzettelijke aanwezigheid van sporen, zeer kleine hoeveelheden, van genetisch gemodificeerd product? Weinig verantwoord lijkt me dat, zowel met het oog op de voedselzekerheid die ik noemde, als met het oog op stijgende prijzen.

Want de diervoederprijzen nemen toch de laatste tijd al flink toe, en dat zullen ze nog meer doen als we deze houding blijven aanhouden. Veel producenten zien hun kosten hierdoor alleen maar toenemen en ik denk dat het hier geen kwaad kan om nogmaals te onderstrepen dat de stijgende prijzen waar we het steeds over hebben niet automatisch betekenen dat ook de boeren een beter inkomen ontvangen. Het is namelijk al gezegd, bijvoorbeeld in de varkenssector nemen de kosten voor het voer wel toe en worden de marges eigenlijk alleen maar kleiner.

Hoe kunnen we nu uit deze impasse komen? Niet door nu ineens onzorgvuldig met toelatingsprocedures om te gaan. Nee, dat zeker niet. Maar de schoen wringt naar mijn mening op twee punten, en daar moeten we een oplossing voor zien te vinden. Allereerst, het is al gezegd door Struan Stevenson, duurt het in de Europese Unie aanzienlijk langer voordat een GGO diervoeder kan worden toegestaan: bij ons twee-eneenhalfjaar, in de VS ruim een jaar. Ik heb de Commissie wel gehoord over het efficiënter maken van EFSA, maar dat is natuurlijk niet het hele probleem. Het probleem zit hem ook in het gepingpong in de Raadscomités die dan noch een gekwalificeerde meerderheid vóór toelating, noch een gekwalificeerde meerderheid tegen toelating kunnen vinden, waarna dan eindelijk na heel veel getouwtrek het besluit aan de Commissie toekomt. Dus daar zit ook een deel van het probleem, en die procedure moet sneller. Dit is zeker geen pleidooi voor een automatische toelating van de producten, maar ik denk dat mensen er recht op hebben om sneller te weten, ja of nee, of een product kan worden toegelaten op de Europese markt.

Ten tweede zullen we een oplossing moeten vinden voor de onopzettelijke aanwezigheid van genetisch gemodificeerde sporen in diervoeders, bijvoorbeeld via een drempelwaarde, zeker als het om GGO's gaat die al een positieve beoordeling van de EFSA hebben ontvangen. En zeker als je bedenkt dat de karbonades van de varkens die buiten de Europese Unie dat voer hebben gegeten, bij ons gewoon in de winkel liggen. Over oneerlijke concurrentie gesproken! Ik vind het jammer dat ik de Commissie niet over drempelwaarden heb gehoord. Ze verwijst naar bestaande wetgeving. Maar laten we wel wezen, bij de etikettering gebruiken we wél een drempelwaarde, dus ik denk dat het mogelijk is.

Kortom, laat producenten en consumenten niet de dupe worden van de besluiteloosheid van de Raadscomités. Nu is de tijd om duidelijkheid en snelheid te bieden.

 
  
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  Bernadette Bourzai, au nom du groupe PSE. – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, mes chers collègues, cette question aborde, dès son titre, les conséquences économiques de la procédure d'autorisation des OGM.

J'aimerais donc demander à Mme la Commissaire si la Commission a commandité des études sur les causes de l'augmentation des prix de l'alimentation animale et savoir combien, dans les dernières années, de contingents d'aliments pour animaux importés ont présenté des traces d'OGM non autorisés en Europe, à quel niveau. Et j'aimerais aussi savoir d'où venaient ces produits. Cela serait utile pour évaluer l'ampleur de ces incidents.

Pour ma part, au contraire de Mme De Lange qui vient de parler, je conteste le lien de causalité établi entre le principe de tolérance zéro par rapport aux OGM et l'augmentation considérable du prix des denrées alimentaires. Il ne faut pas faire d'amalgame, nous savons très bien que cette hausse est due à la combinaison de plusieurs facteurs que je ne détaillerai pas, mais surtout à la spéculation boursière sur les marchés à terme agricoles. D'ailleurs, cette hausse concerne tous les pays, y compris ceux qui ont une législation très souple sur les OGM.

Par contre, il est vrai que les éleveurs européens sont en grande difficulté et la principale raison en est la situation de grande dépendance par rapport aux importations massives d'aliments pour animaux dans laquelle se trouve l'Union européenne.

La question principale pour moi est donc: pourquoi sommes-nous si dépendants et comment réagir? Je souhaite donc demander à la Commission si elle a procédé à une analyse des conséquences économiques des accords de Blair House pour lesquels l'Union européenne s'est démunie de sa propre production d'aliments pour animaux.

Pour réduire cette dépendance, on pourrait avoir deux axes d'action, à mon avis. D'une part, tout faire pour sauver, je dis bien sauver, les dernières cultures européennes de fourrages séchés et de protéagineux et encourager un redéploiement en évitant, par exemple, un découplage total des aides lors du bilan de santé de la PAC, d'autant que ces cultures ont des qualités environnementales incontestables pour les rotations de cultures et donc, pour les sols.

D'autre part, la Commission doit réfléchir à une diversification des sources d'approvisionnement. J'ai, pour ma part, participé à une conférence du réseau des régions libres d'OGM en décembre 2007, qui a démontré qu'une offre d'aliments non OGM existe et qu'il faut pouvoir mettre en relation les producteurs et les importateurs.

Je souhaite qu'on soit tous conscients que les consommateurs ont droit...

(La Présidente retire la parole à l'orateur)

 
  
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  Jan Mulder, namens de ALDE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, ik zou in de eerste plaats de Commissie landbouw en deze plenaire vergadering willen bedanken dat ze gevolg hebben gegeven aan mijn initiatief om dit onderwerp vanavond hier te bespreken.

Een van de merkwaardige dingen is dat overal in de wereld de verbouw van genetisch gemodificeerde gewassen toeneemt, maar dat alleen wij in Europa geweldig veel koudwatervrees hebben op dat punt. De grote vraag is hoe dat komt. De commissaris zegt met grote stelligheid: de wetgeving is nu eenmaal zo, en dus moeten wij ons eraan houden. Maar als de veranderde omstandigheden het nodig maken dat de wetgeving veranderd wordt, dan zal de Commissie het toch moeten doen. Ik denk dat de tijd daarvoor nu rijp is. Ik heb er onlangs nog vragen over gesteld, maar het ene genetisch gemodificeerde gewas is het andere niet. Er is een groot verschil tussen transgenese en cisgenese: de ene is soorteigen en de andere niet. Beide vallen onder dezelfde wetgeving en de Commissie moet zich een keer daarover buigen om de wetgeving in dit opzicht te veranderen.

De essentie van het hele verhaal is volgens mij nultolerantie. Er zijn weinig situaties in de wereld waar je absoluut nultolerantie kunt eisen. Er moet altijd een mogelijkheid zijn om een bepaalde marge van verschil te laten. Als ik te hard rijd over een afstand van 50 km dan is er in de meeste landen een marge van tolerantie van ongeveer 3 km voordat ik een bekeuring krijg. Waarom is dat niet mogelijk voor de import van goederen? Waarom is een tolerantie van bijvoorbeeld 0,8 of 0,9% niet mogelijk? Kan de commissaris mij hierop een duidelijk antwoord geven?

Ook ik juich het toe dat er een gesprek aan de gang is met EFSA om de procedures te verkorten zonder dat de kwaliteit in gevaar wordt gebracht. Maar zijn er al indicaties van EFSA of dat mogelijk is of niet? Een gesprek alleen is niet voldoende want de tijd dringt.

En dan is er nog een volgend punt. Misschien kan de commissaris mij uitleggen hoe ik als politicus aan het grote publiek kan verklaren dat wij hier een heleboel producten mogen consumeren die wij hier niet mogen produceren. Wij mogen onbeperkt alle producten uit de hele wereld invoeren die afkomstig zijn van dieren die gevoerd zijn met producten die hier verboden zijn. Wat is het nut daarvan? Wat is de uitleg daarvoor? Misschien dat de commissaris mij een idee aan de hand kan doen voor de komende verkiezingscampagne.

Ik zou ten slotte willen vragen wat de gevolgen zijn van de houding van de Commissie in WTO-verband? Mogen wij dit zomaar doen?

 
  
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  Janusz Wojciechowski, w imieniu grupy UEN. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Są trzy obszary, w których GMO może być groźne.

Pierwszy obszar to zdrowie publiczne. Jest coraz więcej sygnałów o możliwej szkodliwości GMO dla zdrowia ludzi, ale te sygnały są lekceważone. Twarde dowody na szkodliwość GMO mogą się pojawić w każdej chwili. Kiedyś nie było dowodów na szkodliwość azbestu, a gdy się znalazły, trzeba było ponieść ogromne wielomiliardowe koszty na jego usuwanie. Z GMO jest ten problem, że gdy się rozprzestrzeni, to usunąć się go nie da.

Drugi obszar to środowisko. Wielu naukowców ostrzega, że konsekwencje GMO dla środowiska mogą być katastrofalne. Z tego m.in. powodu w lodach norweskiej wyspy Spitzbergen urządzony został potężny schron dla tradycyjnych nasion na wypadek, gdyby zostały one zniszczone przez ekspansję GMO.

Trzecie zagrożenie – ekonomiczne. Ekspansja GMO jest sposobem na ekonomiczne uzależnienie rolników od wielkich koncernów biotechnologicznych. Rolnicy będą uprawiać rośliny GMO na warunkach, które podyktują im potężne koncerny dysponujące patentami na nasiona.

Europa dziś nie cierpi głodu. Żywność drożeje, ale polityka rolna Unii w dalszym ciągu polega na administracyjnym ograniczaniu produkcji rolniczej. Europa nie musi poszukiwać superintensywnych technologii produkcji żywności. Europa powinna postawić na zdrową żywność produkowaną z zastosowaniem tradycyjnych metod.

Pozostaje oczywiście problem konkurencji. Tu w pełni zgadzam się z panem Stevensonem i innymi przedmówcami. Zakaz upraw GMO oraz zakaz stosowania pasz GMO nie powinien jednostronnie szkodzić naszym rolnikom. Powinien być równoznaczny z zakazem importu produktów zawierających GMO zarówno roślinnych, jak i zwierzęcych. Powinna obowiązywać jasna zasada – te same wymagania dla producentów eksportujących swoje produkty na rynek europejski, co w stosunku do naszych producentów.

 
  
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  Caroline Lucas, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group . – Madam President, I would like to start by strongly challenging the assumption that seems to lie behind this oral question. Trying to link the rise in animal feed prices in Europe and the corresponding crisis in the livestock industry to the EU’s GM laws in general, and its zero-tolerance policy in particular, is completely false and disingenuous.

It is certainly true that times are hard for livestock farmers, but I make the case that this has nothing to do with Europe’s GM policies and everything to do with a combination of factors, including poor weather conditions leading to reduced harvests, deregulation of markets, increased demand by countries like China, the rapid and misguided increase in biofuel production and growing financial speculation.

Much is also being made by the GM industry of DG Agriculture’s report on the potential impact of the EU’s GM regime on the availability and price of animal feed. The worst-case scenario in the report rests on the assumption that Brazil will rapidly commercialise a GM soya bean variety not approved in the EU. But absolutely no evidence is presented that Brazil is even considering new GM soya beans.

The report finds that US approvals will be unaffected by EU policy and that Brazil and Argentina will, in fact, be much more cautious about approving new GM crops that could otherwise damage their exports to the EU. For example, Argentina has introduced a certification scheme for maize exports to the EU, precisely to avoid unapproved traits.

Moreover, there is no evidence either of major distortion of competition caused by imports of meat from animals that may have been fed with GMOs not authorised in the EU.

So, frankly, all of these questions are ill-informed and tendentious. But I do have some questions of my own with regard to any proposed threshold for EU non-approved GMOs. First, how can the Commission be sure that EU non-approved GMOs are safe?

Second, in the case of damage, which institution or company will have to pay? The EU, which allows such contamination? The company, which has developed the GMO but has so far no valid market approval? Or the company responsible for the import?

Finally, should such a threshold also apply to genetically engineered plants that produce substances like pharmaceuticals? What assessment has been carried out on the contamination of daily food with active pharmaceutical substances?

I look forward to hearing full answers to these crucial questions at the end of this debate.

 
  
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  Kartika Tamara Liotard, namens de GUE/NGL-Fractie. – Voorzitter, commissaris, u en ik weten eigenlijk nog veel te weinig over de gezondheidsrisico's van genetisch gemanipuleerde organismen. Willen we zulke GGO's - ik noem het knutselvoedsel - dan toch toelaten, puur omdat dit een economisch belang dient? Wat mij betreft niet. Ik geeft echt voorrang aan volksgezondheid, aan het milieu en aan biodiversiteit. Brussel verplicht landen nu al om bepaalde GGO's toe te laten, dus ook als ze daar niet toe bereid zijn. Dit staat haaks op het protocol van Cartagena, waarmee landen nieuwe GGO-producten kunnen weigeren als ze twijfels hebben over de veiligheid daarvan. Laat de lidstaten zelf bepalen welke risicoproducten ze toelaten.

Ik sta niet alleen in mijn protest. GGO's brengen grote groepen burgers in beroering. We zien dat in Polen, in Roemenië, in Oostenrijk en op Cyprus. Zo is er in Nederland in plaatsen als Raalte en Gemert-Bakel een groeiend verzet tegen de proefvelden van Monsanto. Het risico is reëel dat gemanipuleerde zaden van Monsanto overwaaien naar nabij gelegen akkers van traditionele of biologische landbouwers, en dat terwijl deze boeren dat onkruid nooit willen hebben. Zorgwekkend vind ik ook de overnameplannen door Monsanto van het Nederlandse zadenbedrijf De Ruiter, een bedrijf uit de wereld top 10. Het is overduidelijk dat Monsanto zo zijn infiltratie in Europa wil vergroten. Ofwel in afwachting van soepeler regels, of juist om de politiek onder druk te kunnen zetten om die regels toch maar heel snel te versoepelen. Daar moeten we ons fel tegen verzetten. Volksgezondheid, milieu en biodiversiteit zijn voor ons belangrijker dan bedrijfswinsten.

 
  
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  Jim Allister (NI). – Madam President, what a laughing stock the EU must be to its competitors! With sanctimonious fervour we ban GMOs in animal feedstuffs, even to the ridiculous point of zero tolerance of any unauthorised GM trace, but simultaneously meat derived from animals reared outside the EU and fed with the very GMOs which we refuse to authorise can be imported freely anywhere within the 27 States.

It sounds like zero sense to me. The EU strains at a gnat and swallows a camel, and who suffers? Our own producers, who have to pay sky-high prices for GM-free feedstuffs. It seems that, within the EU, if the political correctness boxes can be ticked then we should be happy, never mind the lunacy which we create.

 
  
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  Rosa Miguélez Ramos (PSE). – Señora Presidenta, aunque la ganadería europea genera más del 40 % del valor añadido de nuestra producción agraria, lo cierto es que en este momento carecemos de materias primas suficientes para alimentar nuestro ganado. En mi país, España, la situación para el vacuno de carne, más dependiente del consumo de piensos que el de algunos otros Estados miembros, es devastadora. En el caso del porcino y de la avicultura, la mala situación es similar en toda Europa.

Como ya se ha dicho, la legislación comunitaria permite la comercialización de piensos con presencia de OMG, siempre que estén autorizados en la Unión Europea, pero no contempla un nivel mínimo de presencia de los no autorizados. Este hecho está causando problemas, por una parte, al comercio con terceros países exportadores y, por otra, al propio sector ganadero europeo que tiene –como digo– un problema de desabastecimiento.

No es la primera vez que coincido con el señor Mulder, y esta vez lo he escuchado en su intervención y creo que también coincidimos, porque una solución podría ser aceptar la presencia hasta un umbral determinado de contaminaciones accidentales por organismos modificados genéticamente, siempre que hayan sido evaluados favorablemente por la AESA y autorizados por un país tercero, de conformidad con los principios del Codex y con un etiquetado claro.

Otra solución pasaría por producir más en territorio europeo, pero la Comisión, en sus propuestas para el chequeo, parece cerrarnos esa posibilidad. El caso de los forrajes desecados, imprescindibles para la alimentación animal, es paradigmático. Aun reconociendo el peligro de abandono de la producción, la Comisión se obstina en querer aplicarles el régimen de pago desacoplado.

Así que –insisto– estamos ante un grave problema de desabastecimiento de alimentos para el ganado y la Comisión Europea tiene la responsabilidad de responder a esta situación.

 
  
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  Kyösti Virrankoski (ALDE). – Arvoisa puhemies, geenimuunneltu viljalajike on jalostettu muuttamalla sen geneettistä perimää tarkan tieteellisen teknologian avulla. Tämä teknologia perustuu perinnöllisyystieteen runsaan puolen vuosisadan kehitykseen. Sen avulla on voitu jalostaa lajikkeita, joiden viljely vaatii vähemmän työtä, vähemmän kasvinsuojeluaineiden käyttöä ja tuottaa suurempia satoja. Siksi näiden viljely on lisääntynyt nopeasti.

Euroopan unioni ei ole pysynyt kehityksessä mukana, koska se noudattaa tiukkaa byrokraattista valvontaa. Vaikka Euroopan ruokaturvallisuusviraston tieteelliset kokeet ja tutkimus ovat osoittaneet lajikkeen täysin vaarattomaksi ja edulliseksi kuluttajalle, sen hyväksyminen vaatii laajan prosessin. Komission esitys menee ensin pysyvään komiteaan, joka hyväksyy tai hylkää esityksen määräenemmistöllä. Ellei tämä pysty tekemään päätöstä, seuraava porras on neuvosto, ja ellei tämäkään pysty tekemään päätöstä, esitys palaa komissioon, joka tekee lopulta päätöksen, mutta aikaa kuluu.

Euroopan unioniin tuodaan runsaasti gmo-rehua. Sitä käyttävät mielellään myös sellaiset maat, joissa gmo-lajikkeiden viljelyä pyritään rajoittamaan. Koska EU ei ole ehtinyt hyväksyä kaikkia muualla jo käytössä olevia lajikkeita, rehuissa voi olla pieniä jäämiä niistä. Silloin koko tuontierä palautetaan. Tämä aiheuttaa kustannuksia alalle ja vaikuttaa eurooppalaisen elintarviketuotannon kilpailukykyyn. Siksi olisi päästävä jonkinlaiseen kohtuuteen tässäkin suhteessa. Olemattoman pienet jäämät muissa maissa hyväksyttyjä lajikkeita, eivät saisi aiheuttaa näin kohtuuttomia seuraamuksia, varsinkin kun eurooppalainen maatalous joutuu joka tapauksessa kohtaamaan globaalin kilpailun.

 
  
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  Димитър Стоянов (NI). – Латинската поговорка казва, че всичко естествено е добро. Това естествено не значи, че ГМО, които са изкуствени са лоши, но все още нямаме ясни научни данни, които да доказват без съмнение тяхната полезност. Напротив, имаме примера на Съединените щати, където най-голямата толерантност към ГМО е комбинирана с най-затлъстялото население. Генетиката и биотехнологиите са още една неточна наука. Те обещават много, но в същото време ние, използвайки ги, попадаме пред огромния риск да загубим много, да загубим може би повече, отколкото можем да си позволим.

Сегашната политика на Европейския съюз за предпазлив подход към генно- модифицираните организми е една добра политика към настоящия момент, с оглед на научните постижения, които имаме пред себе си. Но аз смятам, че не трябва да забравяме все пак европейските производители и ситуацията, която е създадена в момента наистина в известна степен е доста неестествена и Комисията трябва да успее да намери баланс, при който да няма дискриминация на европейските производители и в същото време да се постигне такова състояние, при което европейските потребители могат наистина да избират дали да консумират ГМО или ГМО свободни култури. Аз се радвам, че съм един млад човек в Европейския съюз и бих се радвал да мога да направя този информиран избор.

 
  
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  Avril Doyle (PPE-DE). – Madam President, given the high import dependency of the EU for protein-rich feedingstuffs such as soya bean meal and corn gluten feed, how can the Commission justify the current situation in which even feedingstuffs with only the smallest trace of unauthorised GMOs are banned and destroyed at our ports, whereas meat derived from animals that are fed with these very same unauthorised GMOs can freely enter the EU into the food chain and be consumed by our consumers, thus causing a major distortion of competition to the detriment of European farmers?

A threshold value – as is already the case for the adventitious presence of traces of authorised GMOs for the labelling of products as GMO-free – should be applied for the adventitious presence of traces of unauthorised GMOs that have already obtained a positive assessment from the EFSA or that have undergone a feed and food safety risk assessment in accordance with the Codex GM plant guidelines. Is the Commission planning to come forward with concrete proposals to that end, and when?

Our lengthy authorisation process lacks scientific rigour and integrity and is the road to serious world trade disputes and, embarrassingly, arises from interinstitutional prevarication on this issue. No other trading block is resisting change in this way.

 
  
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  Csaba Sándor Tabajdi (PSE). – Végre érdemi, tartalmi vitát kellene folytatnunk a géntechnológia alkalmazásáról Európában, mert jelenleg csak hitvita, sőt, sok esetben csak hisztériakeltés folyik. A tudományt nem lehet és nem is szabad megállítani. A népesség- és élelmiszerár-robbanás után sem tehetjük meg, hogy nem számolunk a biotechnológia, a géntechnológia adta lehetőségekkel. E nélkül nem lehet teljes a zöldforradalom.

A márciusban elfogadott biogáz jelentésem is mutatja, hogy az EP konszenzust fogadott el a bioenergia termelésre használt GMO növények engedélyezése tekintetében. Magyarországon a parlamenti pártok között konszenzus van a mezőgazdaság GMO-mentességének megőrzése ügyében, ugyanakkor látnunk kell, hogy ez illuzórikus. Az állati takarmányozásra használt import szója 85%-a már most is génkezelt.

Nyilvánvaló, hogy a GMO nem játék, óriásiak a kockázatok. Ezért a legfontosabb egy nagyvállalatok káros befolyásától független uniós szakmai ellenőrző testület felállítása lenne, amely tudományos alapokon, hitelt érdemlően vizsgálná be a GMO termékeket, védelmet biztosítva a veszélyekkel szemben, egyszersmind eloszlatva az indokolatlan félelmeket is. A GMO-val foglalkozó multinacionális cégek sajnos vonakodnak kiadni a termékeikre vonatkozó részletes dokumentációt, nem partnerek a tudományos vizsgálatokhoz, holott ez elemi követelmény lenne fogyasztóvédelmi szempontból is. De nagyon sok a megtévesztő információ, tudománytalan riogatás a GMO-t ellenzők részéről is, ezért fontos ez a mostani vita. Köszönöm a figyelmet.

 
  
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  Paulo Casaca (PSE). – Eu também gostaria de testemunhar aqui a extrema preocupação da agricultura dos Açores, a minha região, com a actual situação. Penso que ficou demonstrado neste debate que não há qualquer razão que possa justificar a existência de uma política que proíbe a utilização de OGM na alimentação animal, ao mesmo tempo que permite o consumo da carne produzida com esses OGM.

Penso também que já ficou claro o exagero que há na política de tolerância zero. Em último lugar eu gostaria de dizer que, para quem conheça a indústria de compostos animais, ninguém pode duvidar do impacto óbvio que ambos estes factores têm nos preços das rações alimentares. Esse impacto é muito claro, nomeadamente no Corn Gluten Feed e nos desperdícios da utilização do milho para a produção de álcool. Eu apelava à Comissão Europeia para que tivesse em consideração a situação dos agricultores em toda a Europa.

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE-DE). – Frau Präsidentin, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren! In der Landwirtschaftsdebatte haben wir derzeit die Herausforderung des health check. Mich würde interessieren, ob hier die Debatte bezüglich der GMO eine Rolle spielt und in welchem Ausmaß darüber diskutiert wird.

Wir alle wissen, dass weltweit eine heiße Diskussion über Lebensmittel und Energieversorgungssicherheit geführt wird. Hier sollten wir sehen, welche Auswirkungen diese Debatte auf uns hat.

Ich selbst bin immer für eine Nulltoleranz bei der Etikettierung. Der Konsument soll wissen, was er bekommt. Aus dieser Sicht sollten wir sehen, dass auch die Legislativkörper von Regionen die Möglichkeit hatten, hier zu entscheiden.

 
  
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  Marios Matsakis (ALDE). – Madam President, even at this late time of the day, listening to the debate, I feel the need to say just three things.

First of all, it is true that there is no scientific evidence that GMOs pose a hazard to human or animal health. However, as a previous speaker, who has now gone, mentioned, asbestos was not thought to be hazardous and, yet, we know today that it causes mesothelioma – lung cancer. And, of course, smoking was not thought to be hazardous to anybody until a few years ago and now, of course, we know that it causes lung cancer, pulmonary disease and coronary artery stenosis. So it is better to be safe than sorry.

Secondly, Mr Allister and Mr Casaca talked about the difference between GMOs in feed and animals that have been fed on GMOs. There is a large difference between the two. There is a difference, because, in the feed, the GMO is in a completely different state from the GMO that has been fed to the animal, digested by the animal and metabolised by the animal, and then is just, probably, present – but it is not – in the animal’s meat in a completely different form than in the feed.

 
  
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  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE-DE). – Madame la Présidente, nous voyons bien dans ce sujet des organismes génétiquement modifiés que c'est une urgence démocratique, une nécessité économique et un impératif juridique. Je félicite notre commission d'aborder ce sujet.

S'agissant de notre débat, nous voyons bien que l'Union européenne enregistre une forte dépendance vis-à-vis des importations d'aliments riches en protéines. Tout cela nous renvoie à des débats scientifiques et l'importation des animaux élevés avec des aliments ne respectant pas les règles européennes nous amène à nous interroger sur la capacité de l'Union européenne à protéger nos citoyens.

Le régime de protection, ce n'est pas du protectionnisme, c'est simplement une interrogation et je voudrais demander à la Commission si elle estime que la qualité de notre système douanier qui, de mon point de vue, s'est beaucoup dégradée, peut lui permettre de répondre à l'ensemble des considérations auxquelles donne lieu cet excellent débat.

 
  
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  Jan Mulder (ALDE). – Madam President, when the Commissioner answers, could she say something about the possibilities of increasing the tolerance level from zero to a higher percentage, say 0.7%, 0.9% or whatever it is? From listening to the debate, I think that is the essence of what has been said. Zero tolerance in the present circumstances is a bit too stringent.

 
  
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  Androula Vassiliou, Member of the Commission. − Madam President, I listened very carefully to the various comments that the honourable Members have made.

We do recognise in the Commission that asynchronous approvals of GMOs can represent a problem for the availability and cost of feed imports. Although the rising costs in this sector are the result of different, complex and sometimes much wider factors, all these factors have been taken into consideration in the study that was made by DG AGRI.

The Commission’s efforts are targeted at addressing some of the key factors behind this issue, both at internal level, though the authorisation of new GMOs in the full respect of the EU legislative framework, and at international level, through the discussions with our major trading partners.

Several speakers have posed the question whether the Commission would be prepared to move from zero tolerance to something higher. I must remind you that to do so we need codecision both from Parliament and the Council, and we need to have the support of Member States. You know what the stance of the Member States has been in the various standing committees, where we rarely, as far as I know never, managed to get a qualified majority.

I would like to say that to impose restrictions over imported animal products which are the product of animals fed with GMOs would probably fail to comply with our international commitments.

Lastly I want to say a few words about the delays in the authorisation process, which was mentioned by a number of speakers. There is an ongoing discussion between the Commission and the EFSA to verify the possibility of efficiency gains in the authorisation procedure without any compromise on the quality of the scientific assessment.

One of the elements which have been highlighted is the need to better communicate to applicants the requirements for the authorisation in order to improve, from the start, the quality of their dossiers.

Furthermore, and as a result of this discussion, the Authority has taken the commitment to carry out the preliminary validity check within six weeks from the submission of the application, thus significantly reducing the timeline for the authorisation procedure.

It is also important to note that the approval process could be significantly shortened if the Commission had greater support from Member States in the comitology process for the authorisation of GMOs.

Lastly I want to reply to a comment that was made by a speaker that in our risk management we take into account economic grounds only. I would say that, for us, the primary factor is the safety to human and animal health and the environment as well.

Having said that, I would like to say that the Commission remains open to discuss possible suggestions in this field, but only on the precondition that any proposed solution respect the fundamental aim of guaranteeing the safety of the products placed on the EU market.

 
  
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  La Présidente. – Je vous remercie, Madame le Commissaire.

Le débat est clos.

Déclarations écrites (article 142)

 
  
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  Διαμάντω Μανωλάκου (GUE/NGL), γραπτώς. – Η πολιτική της ΕΕ για τους ΓΤΟ είναι υπέρ των πολυεθνικών και κατά των καταναλωτών, γιατί αυξάνει την εξάρτηση των αγροτών από τη μονοπώληση και έλεγχο της γεωργίας από τις πολυεθνικές.

Είναι σε βάρος της δημόσιας υγείας, αφού επιστημονικά έχει διαπιστωθεί ότι αρκετά μεταλλαγμένα ενοχοποιούνται για αλλεργίες και υπονόμευση του ανοσοποιητικού συστήματος.

Οι μη αναστρέψιμες συνέπειες στο περιβάλλον πολλαπλασιάζουν την επικινδυνότητα των ΓTO. Περιορίζεται η βιοποικιλότητα και είναι σίγουρο ότι δεν μπορεί να εξασφαλιστεί ο περιορισμός της επιμόλυνσης.

H πολιτική αυτή είναι οικονομικά επιζήμια. Τα μεταλλαγμένα είναι ένας από τους παράγοντες που συμβάλλουν στην αύξηση των τιμών των τροφίμων και στην πείνα στον κόσμο, όπως πλέον ανοικτά υποστηρίζουν διεθνείς οικονομικοί οργανισμοί.

H προβαλλόμενη επιλογή της "μηδενικής ανοχής" είναι ψευδεπίγραφη και αναποτελεσματική, αποτέλεσμα συμβιβασμού των συμφερόντων των πολυεθνικών. Επιτρέπει την καλλιέργεια ορισμένων μεταλλαγμένων, την κατανάλωση προϊόντων που προέρχονται από χρήση μεταλλαγμένων ζωοτροφών, όπως το κρέας από τρίτες χώρες.

H πολιτική αυτή έχει συγκεκριμένο στόχο. Να περιοριστούν οι έντονες αντιδράσεις των εργαζομένων στα κράτη-μέλη της ΕΕ που απαιτούν ασφαλή τρόφιμα, χωρίς ΓΤΟ σε προσιτές τιμές.

Θεωρούμε ότι πρέπει να απαγορευτούν πλήρως οι γενετικά τροποποιημένες καλλιέργειες στα κράτη-μέλη, όπως και οι εισαγωγές προϊόντων που παρουσιάζουν ίχνη μεταλλαγμένων. Ταυτόχρονα, όμως, πρέπει να ληφθούν μέτρα προστασίας της κοινοτικής παραγωγής και των καταναλωτών.

 
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