European Union lawmakers have agreed to pursue legislation that will allow each member state to ban genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) from growing within their borders.  According to a December 4, 2014, press release the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on the draft legislation on GMO cultivation.  Even when GMOs have been deemed safe, this proposal still would allow the 28 EU member nations to ban GMO growing for reasons other than food safety, including socioeconomic impacts, environmental concerns and agricultural policy objectives.

The proposal applies only to GMOs grown in the EU member states — not imports.  However, the United States will likely consider this a setback in its efforts to push the EU to soften its GMO restrictions.  For US companies facing opposition to GMO exports, this is as yet another hurdle to overcome.

[T]his proposal allows nations to ban GMO growing for reasons other than food safety . . . .

Since 2009, EU member states have wanted the final say on whether GMOs can be grown in their territory.  Although the parliament and counsel need to vote on this proposal, the public announcement signals confidence that it will pass.